Novak Djokovic Reaches U.S. Open Final, One Victory From a Grand Slam

by 24USATVSept. 11, 2021, 4:40 a.m. 23
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Twenty-seven down, one to go.

With a five-set win over Alexander Zverev of Germany on Friday night, Novak Djokovic moved to within a single match victory of pulling off the most hallowed achievement in tennis.

After winning the Australian Open, the French Open and Wimbledon this year and knocking out his first challengers at the U.S. Open, Djokovic now has to defeat only Daniil Medvedev of Russia in Sunday’s final to become the first man to win the Grand Slam in a calendar year since Rod Laver did it in 1969.

And he got there in style, coming from behind early on, then surviving an onslaught from an opponent who seemed for a time that he might just have Djokovic’s number. Zverev came close, forcing Djokovic to go the distance in a grueling 4-6, 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 win, but the razor-thin margin only made Djokovic’s number at the Grand Slams in 2021 seem even more mysterious.

The win on Friday night set the stage for one of the most remarkable weekends in tennis. On Saturday, the teenage sensations Emma Raducanu of Britain and Leylah Fernandez of Canada, who have captivated their countries and the crowds at the U.S. Open, will compete for the women’s title in the unlikeliest of finals.

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