Novak Djokovic advanced to two matches to complete the first singles Grand Slam of the men’s calendar year in 52 years on Wednesday and rallied to defeat Italian Matteo Beretini in the US Open quarterfinals.
Top-ranked Djokovic extended his Grand Slam victory streak to 26 by defeating sixth seed Barretini 5-7, 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 at the Arthur Ashe Stadium in the July Wimbledon final again.
“I think it was a great performance overall,” said Djokovic, calling his last three sets “the best three sets I’ve played in the tournament.”
The world number one booked a date for the semi-finals on Friday against Olympic champion Alexander Zverev, who defeated Djokovic in the semi-finals in Tokyo.
“He’s in great form. He’s winning a lot,” Djokovic said. “He’s one of the best players in the world right now and I’m a pump. The bigger the challenge, the better it will be.”
Djokovic is trying to become the first man to win all four major titles in a single year since Rod Lever in 1969, but he is not yet ready to consider the glory of the challenge.
“Just focus on the next match. Don’t ask me about the date,” Djokovic said. “I’m just thinking about the next match. Step by step.”
The 34-year-old Serbian is looking for his fourth US Open title and the men’s record 21st career Salem trophy, which will take him one step above the mark of sharing with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, both of whom were not injured.
German fourth seed Zverev, who was runner-up at the US Open last year, reached the fourth slam semifinal of his career, beating South Africa’s 46th-ranked Lloyd Harris 7-6 (8/6), 6-3. Defeated 6-4.
Zverev denied Djokovic’s bid to win Olympic gold in addition to Djokovic’s four major titles, but Djokovic is ahead of his all-time rival 6-3.
“He’s the best player in the world. It’s very difficult to beat him,” Xavier said. I was the first player to beat him in a big match this year. It gives you something.
Xavier is on a 16-match winning streak, including a title at Cincinnati last month. Djokovic did not play between the Olympics and the Open.
Djokovic improved to 4-0 in his feud with Barretini, who was chasing his third Slam semifinal after the 2019 US Open and his career-best Wimbledon runner-up effort.
Barretini took a 6-5 lead with the first break with the Fernhand Cross Court winner, then Djokovic lost three set points after 77 minutes before sending a handful of teens to surrender the first set full of tension. ۔
After leaving the opening set for the third consecutive match, Djokovic broke a 3-1 lead in the second when Beretini sent a backhand, his strength struggling to cope with the tricks of Djokovic’s game.
Barretini made a break and a backhand to handle the second set, and Djokovic braked again in two of the third game and then in the last to take the seat.
The passing Foreign Hand winner gave Djokovic a 2-0 lead in the fourth set and he came out on top to win in three hours and 27 minutes.
“It was a great match, there was a lot of energy on the court,” Djokovic said.
“When I lost the first set, I forgot about it. Go ahead, stay in the moment. I was dialed from the beginning of the second set. I managed to raise my level.”
Xavier was below the set point in his opening tiebreaker before Harris sent two farhandes long and Xavier gave the winner of the service the first set of explosions.
“He was doing an incredible job, especially in the first set,” Xavier said. “Somehow he managed to win the tiebreaker and he let me down.
“I am very happy to have succeeded in all three.”
Xavier broke Harris for a 2-0 lead in the second set and served from there. In the third, Xavier broke Harris in the first and third games and won the 21st ace of the match two hours and six minutes later.
“The surface wasn’t exactly where it was needed,” Harris said. “It’s a little disappointing. There’s still a lot of positive things left over from the week.”
The previous best slam run for Harris was in the third round of this year’s Australian Open.