Novak Djokovic’s shirt was soaked in sweat but the 23-time Grand Slam champion had the energy to keep the Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd entertained with a song a few minutes after roaring in delight in New York on Tuesday afternoon. The Serb had just beaten 9th seed and local favourite Taylor Fritz 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 in 2 hours and 35 minutes to storm into the semi-finals of US Open 2023 in New York.
Novak Djokovic was delighted after the convincing win over Taylor Fritz, who had the backing of the home crowd at the Ashe. The Serb had avoided spending more time on the court on a hot and humid day.
The match was played with the Arthur Ashe Stadium retractable roof partially shut, which offered shade both for spectators and the two competitors on an afternoon when the temperature topped 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 Celsius) and the humidity was above 55 percent, according to AP News agency.
Djokovic was clinical in every sense as he found top gear whenever he was put under pressure by Fritz. The 9th-seeded American was not able to match the intensity of Djokovic, making 51 unforced errors and having a second-serve win percentage of only 28, when compared to the Serb’s 56. Fritz had 12 break point opportunities, including one in the final game of the match, but he converted only 2 of them while Djokovic converted 6 out of 9.
With the quarter-final win over Frirtz, Djokovic broke Roger Federer’s all-time men’s record of 46 Grand Slam semi-finals. It was Djokovic’s 47th semi-final at a major as he continued his unbeaten streak in the US Open quarter-finals.
WHAT DO RECORDS MEAN FOR NOLE?
Speaking about the significance of setting another all-time Grand Slam record, the 3-time US Open champion said he wants to enjoy every minute being on the court for the sport has given him everything in life.
“This is the sport that has given me so much in my life, coming from Serbia, war-torn country when I was growing up, I faced a lot of adversity growing up and I had to endure a lot to even get a shot to travel and play international sport,” Djkovic said.
“I was lucky to encounter some very knowledgeable and passionate people and without their support and my parents, who are here, I wouldn’t be here without their love and incredible sacrifice. That is the long answer for what goes through my head when I hear those numbers.
“There’s a lot of things I am very grateful for.
“It is a huge opportunity every time I step out on the court at this stage of my life. I don’t know how many more opportunities I will get so I am trying to enjoy it as much as I can.”
Djokovic, who is chasing his 4th US Open crown, will take on the winner of an all-American quarter-final between Ben Shelton and Frances Tiafoe, in the semi-finals.
Djokovic won the Australian Open and the French Open before he was beaten in the Wimbledon final by Carlos Alcaraz in 2023.