It took three hours and 33 minutes but Novak Djokovic prevailed in five sets-4-6, 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 over Alexander Zverev to stand on the cusp of history.
On Sunday, the world No.1 will be up against Daniil Medvedev as he bids for a calendar sweep of all four Grand Slam titles and a 21st Grand Slam title overall.
Almost a year to the day when Djokovic was disqualified from the US Open for aggressive behaviour, which led to him hitting a line umpire with a ball, the Serb now stands on the cusp of history.
He has equalled the record of 20 Grand Slam titles of both Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer and can move ahead with victory over Medvedev on Sunday.
“I’m going for a fourth US Open, that’s all I’m thinking about. I know people like to hear me talk about it but there’s not much to talk about,” Djokovic said in the post-match interview on court.
“There is only one match left. All in. Let’s do it. I’m going to put my heart and my soul and my body and my head into that one. I’m going to treat the next match like it is the last match of my career.”
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Earlier on Friday, Medvedev beat Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime, the 12th-seed in three sets of 6-4, 7-5, 6-2.
On the way to the final, the No.2 ranked Russian has dropped just one set against Botic van de Zandschulp in the quarter-finals.
After this victory over Auger-Aliassime, Medvedev said, ” “I don’t think I played my best today, but I am happy to be in the final on Sunday.”
In head-to-head encounters, Djokovic has five victories in eight matches against the Russian and beat Medvedev in three sets in the final of the 2021 Australian Open in February.