Medvedev Beats Alcaraz To Book Djokovic Rematch In US Open Final

Daniil Medvedev defeated reigning champion Carlos Alcaraz in a thrilling US Open final on Friday, setting up a rematch with 23-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic.

Medvedev defeated Alcaraz 7-6 (7/3), 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 in his fifth major final, ending Alcaraz’s bid to become the first man to retain the title in New York since Roger Federer in 2008.

“I said I needed to play 11 out of 10. I played 12 out of 10, except from the third set,” said the 27-year-old Medvedev.

“He (Alcaraz) is honestly just really unbelievable. To beat him you need to be better than yourself and I managed to do it.”

Medvedev will now face Djokovic on Sunday, as the 36-year-old Serbian legend seeks a record-tying 24th Grand Slam victory to cap his return to world number one next week.

Medvedev’s lone major came at the 2021 US Open, when he stopped Djokovic’s pursuit for a calendar Grand Slam, leaving his rival in tears following a straight-sets victory.

He put on another show against Alcaraz, avenging a lopsided loss to the Spaniard in the Wimbledon semi-finals in July.

Medvedev held his nerve under persistent assault from Alcaraz in the first set, rising to the occasion in the tie-break to take the final four points.

“I totally lose my mind on that set, and fighting for 50 minutes and then, you know, for four points lose my mind. It was really tough for me to handle it,” said Alcaraz.

In the opening set, Alcaraz did not face a single break point, but Medvedev completely dominated the second set, dropping only two points on serve and breaking the top seed twice.

Alcaraz, 20, kept his hopes alive with a break in the fourth game of the third set, extending the contest to a fourth set.

At 1-1, he had three break points come and go before Medvedev delivered the knockout blow with a stunning backhand return, breaking for a 4-2 lead.

Medvedev pushed to the brink of victory with an easy hold, which he eventually sealed after an extraordinary final game in which Alcaraz saved three match points but also failed to convert three break points.

“I thought that right now I am better player to find solutions when the match is not going in the right direction for you,” said Alcaraz.

“But, you know, after this match, I gonna change my mind. I’m not mature enough to handle these kind of matches. So I have to learn about it.”

 Djokovic outwits Shelton

Djokovic ended the run of unseeded 20-year-old American Ben Shelton earlier on Friday, winning 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (7/4) to advance to his 10th US Open final in 17 appearances.

“Another Grand Slam final. I cannot be happier with where I am,” said Djokovic, who missed last year’s tournament at Flushing Meadows because of his refusal to be vaccinated against Covid-19.

Djokovic is seeking to become the Open era’s oldest men’s champion in New York, as well as match Margaret Court’s all-time record for most major singles titles.

The Serbian has now reached 22 Grand Slam semi-finals in a row. In 2018, he won the last of his three US Open titles.

For the third time, Djokovic has reached the finals of all four majors in the same year. For the fourth time in his career, he will attempt to complete three Grand Slams in the same season.

“I’m obviously over the moon with the results so far on Grand Slams,” said Djokovic.

“Playing in all four finals of all four Slams in a season is amazing. It’s the highest achievement I can think about when I start the season.

“That’s what I dream about, that’s what I really wanted, that’s where I want to be, in this kind of position.”

Djokovic’s only Grand Slam loss this year came at Wimbledon when he was beaten by Alcaraz in five sets.

Shelton began the US Open ranked 47th but will break into the top 20 for the first time on Monday.

“There’s a small piece of it is disappointment obviously. I’m a competitor,” he said. Every loss hurts. It cuts you a little bit.

“But if anything, this week has just motivated me more.”

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