Novak Djokovic battled past Alexander Zverev 4-6, 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 on Friday to reach the US Open final.
The World No 1 is one win away from becoming the first man to complete the Grand Slam since Rod Laver in 1969.
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“I’m going to treat this match as it’s my last one because it’s arguably the most important one of my career maybe. Maybe not, I don’t know. But of this year, for sure,” Djokovic said.
Djokovic will take on World No 2 Daniil Medvedev in Sunday’s final. The Russian, who had also reached the Australian Open final this year, defeated Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-4, 7-5, 6-2.
The last time the #USOpen men's singles final saw the top two players in the world… pic.twitter.com/ZLuPMpXStO
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 11, 2021
“It’s going to be a battle against another guy who has been in tremendous form, Medvedev.”
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For most of the intense clash, Djokovic was stoic.
But after securing a double-break lead in the decider, the top seed unleashed a cathartic roar towards his team and stepped on the gas from there to triumph after three hours and 33 minutes.
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Zverev had denied Djokovic a shot at a Golden Grand Slam as he defeated the Serb in the semifinal at the Tokyo Olympics last month.
Meanwhile, Medvedev will contest his third Grand Slam final on Sunday, having lost the 2019 final at Flushing Meadows to Rafael Nadal and the Australian Open final to Djokovic in February.
The World No. 1 is aware of the hoopla surrounding his historic chase. But instead of allowing the pressure to swallow him, the Serbian is just worrying about his preparations.
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“I’m just trying to lock into what I know works for me,” Djokovic said.
“I have my routines, I have my people. I isolate myself. I gather all the necessary energy for the next battle, only the next match, the next match.”