Djokovic as the penultimate hurdle before Zverev’s big goal

Alexander Zverev won in Tokyo and became Olympic champion – in New York at the US Open, the Serb Novak Djokovic is now in the way of Zverev’s first victory in a Grand Slam.

As in the Olympic Games, a win against Novak Djokovic should be the penultimate step on the way to the big goal for Alexander Zverev.

The Olympic champion from Hamburg will meet number one in the tennis world rankings on Saturday night (1.00 CEST) in the semifinals of the US Open and is fully aware of the size of the task: “You have to be perfect, otherwise you won’t win”, said the 24-year-old. Zverev was already in the final in New York a year ago, but lost there to the Austrian Dominic Thiem and is still waiting for the first title win at a Grand Slam tournament.

Djokovic, on the other hand, shares the record of 20 triumphs in this category with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal and can even play for the Grand Slam if they make it to the finals – victories at the four most important tournaments of the tennis season within one calendar year. The Serb was already victorious in Melbourne, London and Paris in 2021. If he also manages to triumph in New York, the 34-year-old will be the first tennis player since Rod Laver in 1969 to achieve the quadruple triumph.

On paper, Djokovic is clearly the favorite, but the veteran is not sure of victory despite all the self-confidence. “I know it’s going to be a harder fight than today,” he said after beating Matteo Berrettini in the quarter-finals. “But I’m ready for it.”

COURSE OF THE TOURNAMENT: Djokovic had more trouble on his way to the semi-finals. The world number one gave a set in four of five games, and most recently he lost the first round three times in a row. Overall, however, both remained sovereign, Zverev won four games in three sets.

Djokovic’s way to the semi-finals:

round Opponent / country Result
1 round Holger Rune / Denmark 6:1, 6:7 (5:7), 6:2, 6:1
2nd round Tallon Greek Rail/Netherlands 6:2, 6:3, 6:2
3rd round Kei Nishikori / Japan 6:7 (4:7), 6:3, 6:3, 6:2
Round of 16 Jenson Brooksby/USA 1:6, 6:3, 6:2, 6:2
Quarter finals Matteo Berrettini / Italien 5:7, 6:2, 6:2, 6:3

Zverev’s way to the semi-finals:

round Opponent / country Result
1 round Sam Querrey/USA 6:4, 7:5, 6:2
2nd round Albert Ramos-Vinolas / Spain 6:1, 6:0, 6:3
3rd round Jack Sock/USA 3: 6, 6: 2, 6: 3, 2: 1 problem
Round of 16 Jannik Sinner / Italy 6:4, 6:4, 7:6 (9:7)
Quarter finals Llyod Harris/Südafrika 7:6 (8:6), 6:3, 6:4

HISTORY: Zverev and Djokovic have met nine times so far, the previous record speaks for the Serb, who celebrated six wins. The really big duels, however, went to Zverev: Both in the final of the Masters in Rome 2017 and at the ATP finals in the previous year and most recently at the Olympics in Tokyo, the North German prevailed.

The previous duels at a glance:

year Tournament / round winner Result
2021 Olympia / semi-finals Zverev 1:6, 6:3, 6:1
2021 Australian Open/VF Djokovic 6:7 (6:8), 6:2, 6:4, 7:6 (8:6)
2021 ATP Cup / preliminary round Djokovic 6:7 (3:7), 6:2, 7:5
2020 ATP finals / preliminary round Djokovic 6:3, 7:6 (7:4)
2019 French Open/VF Djokovic 7:5, 6:2, 6:2
2018 ATP Finals/Final Zverev 6:4, 6:3
2018 ATP finals / preliminary round Djokovic 6:4, 6:1
2018 Masters Shanghai/HF Djokovic 6:2, 6:1
2017 Masters Rom/Finale Zverev 6:4, 6:3

HF = semi-finals, VF = quarter-finals

© dpa-infocom, dpa: 210910-99-161476 / 2

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