| By Long Island Tennis Magazine Staff
Photo Credit: Jed Jacobsohn/USTA

 

Novak Djokovic is now two wins away from a U.S. Open title and the Calendar Slam after knocking off sixth-seeded Italian Matteo Berrettini 5-7, 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 on Wednesday night.

“It was a great match, a lot of energy on the court, off the court as well. Matteo is a terrific player, and established Tip 10 player. Every time we face each other it’s a close battle,” said Djokovic. “When I lost the first set I managed to forget about it and move on, kind of be in the moment and I think I was locked in from the beginning of the second set. I took my tennis to a different level. It was the best three sets of tennis I’ve played so far in the tournament for sure.”

It was the third match of the tournament where Djokovic dropped the opening set, but the Serb quickly responded to ensure the deficit didn’t grow any further. He broke for 3-1, and again for 5-2, to comfortably win the second set.

Another early break in the third established Djokovic’s control over the match, and he never let up. In all, he committed just 15 unforced errors to Berrettini’s 43, and advanced in three hours and 27 minutes.

I like to play best-of-five, especially against the younger guys. I think the experience of being on the big stage so many times does help. Physically I feel as fit as anybody out there. So I can go the distance. Actually I like to go the distance. The longer the match goes, I feel like I don't have any issues. I think I have a better chance than any other opponent. So that's all,” said Djokovic.

“Of course, I want to start off well and win in straight sets. Don't get me wrong. But sometimes it happens that you go through ups and downs during the match, particularly when you play against the best players in the world in the latter stages of Grand Slams,” Djokovic added. “I'm going to be ready to go five sets, five hours, whatever it takes. That's why I'm here.”

For a spot in the finals, he will take on fourth-seed Alexander Zverev, who continued his near flawless run in Flushing with a 7-6(6), 6-3, 6-4 over South Africa’s Lloyd Harris. Zverev hit 43 winners to just 26 unforced errors, and won 82 percent of the points on his first serve.

The Men’s Singles semifinals are set, with the other semifinal pitting second-seed Daniil Medvedev against 12th seeded Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime.

On the women’s side, British teenager Emma Radacanu owned Olympic Gold Medalist Belinda Bencic 6-3, 6-4 on Wednesday. She plays Greece’s Maria Sakkari. The 17th seed knocked off fourth-seed Karolina Pliskova 6-4, 6-4 on Wednesday night.

Greece's Maria Sakkari is into her second major semifinal of the year after her win over Karolina Pliskova on Wednesday night. (Photo Credit: Darren Carroll/USTA)

The other semifinal also features a teenager in Canada’s Leylah Fernandez and second-seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus.