No. 2 seed Novak Djokovic set another record by sailing past No. 9 seed Taylor Fritz 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 at the U.S. Open quarterfinals on Tuesday in New York.
Djokovic reached the 47th Grand Slam semifinal of his career, surpassing Roger Federer’s previous record.
“Obviously, this is a sport that has given me so much in my life,” Djokovic said. “There’s a lot of things that I’m very grateful for. Obviously, it’s a huge opportunity every time I step out on the court at this stage. I’m trying to enjoy every opportunity as much as I can.”
The Serbian had to cope with not only Fritz but also an American crowd that is rooting for an American man to win a Grand Slam title for the first time in 20 years. Andy Roddick won the 2003 U.S. Open before the drought began.
“It’s expected of course that people are backing the home player. I’m fine with that,” Djokovic said. “I actually thrive on that energy. Whatever that energy is, try to use it as a fuel to play my best tennis.”
Djokovic isn’t through playing American opponents. In the semifinals, he will face either No. 10 seed Frances Tiafoe or Ben Shelton, whose quarterfinal match was scheduled for Tuesday night.
“One thing is for sure, I’m going to be enjoying that match from my sofa with my feet up. … I’m going to be playing another American. I have to be ready for whatever is going to come my way from the other side of the net.”
Fritz outdid Djokovic in aces, 8-7, and won 36 of his 49 first-service points (73.5 percent). But Djokovic saved 10 of 12 break points and broke Fritz’s serve six times in nine opportunities.
The third set was 3-3 before each player lost his serve, first Fritz and then Djokovic. But Djokovic dropped just one point in the ninth game to break Fritz again and went on to win on his second match point.
Fritz has yet to defeat a top-10 player at a Grand Slam event. This was just his second trip to a Grand Slam quarterfinal, the other coming at Wimbledon in 2022.
Djokovic has won 23 Grand Slam titles, a men’s record, including three U.S. Opens (2011, 2015, 2018). Four of his five victories this tournament have come in straight sets; he also rallied from two sets down to beat Serbian No. 32 seed Laslo Djere in the third round.
–Field Level Media