Novak Djokovic is knocking on the door of his fourth US Open title. The No. 2 ranked Djokovic took down American Ben Shelton in the men's semifinal on Friday afternoon, 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (7-4).
Shelton, a 20-year-old who became the youngest American to reach the semifinals at the US Open since Michael Chang in 1992, was not as clean as the 36-year-old Djokovic. The Serbian star was fired up after taking the first set, and he followed that up with an excellent showing in the second set.
Despite Djokovic taking the match in straight sets, Shelton did hit some impressive shots and put up a fight late. Shelton showed a lot of perseverance in the third and final set, going toe-to-toe with Djokovic and forcing a tiebreak. After the first two sets, it looked like Djokovic might waltz into the final, but Shelton battled back from a break point to make things a little more interesting.
Just as he did throughout the rest of the match, Shelton managed to hang around and give Djokovic some stiff competition. Djokovic took a 5-1 lead in the tie break before Shelton cut that lead to 5-4. Eventually, Djokovic was able to outlast Shelton, win the tiebreak 7-4, and advance to the US Open final.
In his post-match interview on the court, Djokovic spoke about battling an American opponent on his home turf. Djokovic tipped his cap to the crowd and said those kinds of environment are what keep him going.
"Look, these are the kinds of matches and occasions that I still thrive one and get me going," Djokovic said.
Even with the loss, this was the best Grand Slam result of Shelton's young career, and it was a significant improvement over his 2022 US Open performance, where he was eliminated in the first round of the tournament.
Djokovic will move on to the US Open final for the 10th time in his career and the first since 2021, when he lost to Daniil Medvedev. Djokovic's last championship win at Flushing Meadows came in 2018 with a victory over Juan Martin del Potro.
Djokovic will now await the winner of No. 1 seed Carlos Alcaraz and No. 3 seed Daniil Medvedev. That match is set to start at 7:00 p.m. ET.