US Open 2021 – Djokovic outlives Zverev in half: “Biggest battle of this tournament by far”

US Open 2021 – Djokovic outlives Zverev in half: “Biggest battle of this tournament by far”
US Open 2021 – Djokovic outlives Zverev in half: “Biggest battle of this tournament by far”

We had to survive the storm “Alex”. Novak Djokovic took on Alexander Zverev’s skin after a superb tennis match, in the second semi-final of a four-star US Open for the moment, concluded in the best of five innings (4-6, 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2) in the night from Friday to Saturday. A duel won in the mind because the ship still pitched. But, Captain Djoko manages to deal with the waves without feeling seasick. This is his greatest strength.

The world n ° 1 had warned his younger brother: New York was not Tokyo. It was not a best of three rounds match which remains to this day a format where the 4th in the world better expresses his tennis. But it was a best of five act match, a marathon, where when the time goes over 3 hours, he leaves room for things where he is better than Zverev: the mental part of the game and the management of his body. Even if he feared the great German and his lead service, Djoko capitalized on his management of pivotal moments to overcome his most dangerous opponent of the fortnight.

It was the biggest battle I have had to fight in this tournament by far. It was expected. Zverev was in exceptional shape. He hadn’t lost many sets in this tournament and he was on a series of successes, with his coronations at the Olympic Games in Tokyo and Cincinnati.“, reacted Djokovic in a press conference, a few minutes after having already made a very strong speech on the court of the stadium Arthur-Ashe.”I knew it was going to be a huge challenge and a real task to beat him.”

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I must be satisfied with the tennis produced in the 5th set, which was the most important of the match

Led, then at the helm after the sudden disappearance of the Hamburg player at the start of the 2nd set, then winner of a 3rd set torn off with forceps, then again in half-fig, half-right mode in the 4th act where he was broken at 1-1 in a somewhat impromptu way, the Serbian saw all the colors. But he never felt he was inferior to his opponent and all that without necessarily producing his best tennis. As proof, he left a match very far from his usual standards in return service, and on the backhand side in the exchange, while these are two of his main qualities. What was needed was to raise the cursor at the right time and break the opposing dynamic.

Yes it’s a big victory, I’m happy with the tennis produced in this battle“, admitted the Serbian, author of a tournament quite similar to what he had proposed at Roland Garros. In Paris, he had not necessarily produced a stratospheric tennis, but always raised his head when needed. “He started this match very well, but I felt that we were very close. I finally lost the first set. But, like in other matches won during this tournament, I started to produce very, very good tennis in the second and third sets, after losing the first set. Yes, I could have played better at some points. But again, I have to be happy with the tennis produced in the 5th set, which was the most important of the game. ”

A big fight more than a huge match: Djokovic ended up bending Zverev

Winning the 3rd set put him in two-stroke orbit

Novak Djokovic had the key to this semi-final, but he was not in control. Even when he led two sets to one, he did not have a substantial margin over an opponent caught by a few demons, especially double faults. His coup de force was to take his prey in his talons during the third set, the first pivotal moment of the match. Because here, Djoko slipped through a mouse hole. He had broken Zverev at 5-4 in his favor after a set where he had to save him three break points (at 0-0, 30/40 and 2-2 15/40 and 30/40). At 2-2, he saved his serve thanks to two first saving balls, played on the outside lines of the service box. A habit for the Serbian when he has to save his skin behind his engagement.

At the end of the third set, we had very long points, coupled with equally long rallies. Obviously, taking this set was a huge relief and a plus. But then I lost a bit of focus in the 4th set and he took advantage of it. When you lose your serve and you have a break behind Zverev, it’s really hard to come back because he has such precision on the serve, coupled with power. In the first ten seconds of the set, he swung two huge serves around 210 km / h on important points“, recognized the man who will play his 31st Grand Slam final. Best over five rounds against a good Zverev, Djokovic therefore had the answer to everything, once again. Up to the last step for captain Djoko, the expert in naval battles, be a game of patience. “Now I’m projecting into a new battle on Sunday.”

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