Two tennis worlds collide in the semifinals: Alexander Zverev can now spoil the Grand Slam for Novak Djoković after the Olympic dream.
New York. You always meet several times in life, even more often in a sports series and even regularly in an elite group like the ATP Tour. Because the same protagonists have been romping at the top for years and all tennis players who push their way must prove themselves with victories against the Big Three. And if you can defeat Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal or Novak Djoković, the doors are open to Grand Slam victories. Or, as in the case of the German Alexander Zverev, to Olympic gold in Tokyo.
The zero number at the summer games already cost the Serbs a record. The milestone, however, of becoming the first professional after Rod Laver to win all four majors within one calendar year in 1969, is something Djoković does not want to be “shot away”. This is one of the reasons why he is already making the mood against Zverev before the semifinals in New York (from 10:10 p.m., live ServusTV). After the impressive 5: 7, 6: 2, 6: 2, 6: 3 against the Italian Matteo Berrettini, he promptly sent the first pinpricks. “I know his game very well, he plays very well. But again: semifinals. It’s also about nerves. ”Can the Serb keep her in check? Wait.
“You have to be perfect”
Zverev, the 24-year-old from Hamburg, won 7: 6, 6: 3, 6: 4 against South African Lloyd Harris and was in good spirits. That he ignores Djoković is certainly an advantage. Although, the allusion to the nervous thing has weight, after all, the German lost in the epic final in five sets against Dominic Thiem in 2020. Zverev grins, he says: “You have to be perfect, otherwise you won’t win here.”
For Zverev it’s about the premiere, in addition to gold and triumphs at the ATP finals, he is still missing a victory at a major event. Djoković already has 20 of them, and his ambition literally orders to fix the 21st so that Federer and Nadal are finally behind them in the eternal ranking. And then all the tiresome questions about the Grand Slam would be answered. He couldn’t hear them for a long time: “I don’t want to talk about it. I know it’s there, but I just want to focus on the next game. If I think about it too much, it puts a mental strain on me. “
In the direct duel it is 6: 3 for the Serbs, Zverev has been unbeaten for 16 games. He already knew after the draw that he would have to get Djoković out of the way on the way to victory. The biggest challenge in the tennis world at the moment awaits: to survive against Djoković in a best-of-five match. (fin)
US Open, quarter finals: Auger-Aliassime (CAN-12) – Alcaraz (ESP) 6:3, 3:1 w. o.
Semifinals: Auger-Aliassime – Medwedew (RUS-2), Djokovic (SRB-1) – Zverev (GER)