Determined Novak Djokovic dispatches Berrettini to reach US Open semi-finals

Jonathan Davies in US Open 09 Sep 2021
History is in sight for Djokovic (Frank Molter/DPA/PA Images)

Novak Djokovic is now just two wins away from a record-breaking 21st Grand Slam title following a four-set victory over Matteo Berrettini in the US Open quarter-finals.

The world number one recovered from losing the opening set to advance to his 12th Flushing Meadows semi-final a 5-7, 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 winner.

It also marked the third successive Slam in which Djokovic had overcome the Italian, having also prevailed at the same stage of this year’s French Open as well as the Wimbledon final.

The Serbian will overtake Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal’s tally of 20 Slam titles should he go on to lift the trophy.

He is now within touching distance of becoming only the second male player of the Open Era to win a Calendar Grand Slam – with his Australian, French and Wimbledon titles already in the bag – and first since Rod Laver in 1969.

Just like in their Wimbledon showpiece less than nine weeks earlier, Berrettini landed the first blow as he broke in game 11 on the way to taking a lengthy opening set that lasted one hour and 17 minutes.

Although, it was also a case of déjà vu from the All England Club as Djokovic came roaring back by dominating the next two sets to turn the contest on its head.

He then controlled proceedings in the fourth to set up a mouth-watering last-four clash with Alexander Zverev on Friday.

Meanwhile, Maria Sakkari became the first Greek woman to reach the singles semi-finals at the final major of the season, after a straight-sets victory over former runner-up Karolina Pliskova.

Enjoying her best run at Flushing Meadows, 17th seed Sakkari was clinical on serve; winning 22 consecutive points during her service games to take the opening set 6-4.

The same scoreline in the next did the trick for the Roland Garros semi-finalist, who will play Britain’s teenage sensation Emma Raducanu in the last four.

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