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New York (AFP)
Serbian world number one Novak Djokovic beat German Alexander Zverev in the semi-finals of the US Open, the fourth Grand Slam, while British teenager Emma Radokano continued her wonderful career and reached the last four.
Djokovic is two games away from achieving an achievement by winning the Grand Slam in one year, something that has not been achieved in 52 years, specifically through Australian Rod Laver, by defeating Italian Matteo Berrettini 5-7, 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 The match lasted 3 hours and 30 minutes.
Djokovic also seeks, by crowning him in Flushing Meadows, to hold the record for the number of big titles he currently shares with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal (20 titles each).
The match was a repeat of the Wimbledon final last July, which ended with the Serbian winning.
“I think I put in a great show overall,” said Djokovic, who is seeking to win the title for the fourth time in New York, noting that the three games he won were his best in this tournament.
Djokovic will meet Zverev, the world’s fourth-ranked and Olympic gold holder, in Tokyo, after the latter’s victory over South African Lloyd Harris, the forty-sixth, 7-6 (8/6), 6-3, 6-4.
Zverev is considered one of the most prominent candidates to compete for the title, in sympathy with his recent levels, as he consolidated his winning streak to 16, after he also crowned two weeks ago in the Cincinnati Masters Tournament. He was also eliminated Djokovic in particular in the semi-finals of the Tokyo Olympics, but the direct confrontations between the players are in the interest of the Serbian (6-3).
Zverev is still searching for a first major title after coming so close in last year’s final that he advanced by two sets before losing to Austrian Dominic Thiem 3-2.
This is the fourth time that the German has reached the semi-finals of the major tournaments, “last year I won against only six people (due to the absence of fans due to the Corona pandemic). So it is great that everyone is back.”
“It will be an exciting semi-final,” he added.
– First player from playoffs to semi-finals –
A promising teenager, 18-year-old Radokano, became the first female qualifier to reach the semi-finals of the US Open tennis tournament, defeating Swiss Olympic gold medalist Belinda Bencic 6-3 6-4.
And Radocano, who is playing only her second Grand Slam tournament after Wimbledon last June, when she reached the fourth round, became only the fourth female qualifier to reach the round of four in a major tournament.
The British also became only the third player outside the top 100 to reach the semi-finals in New York, after American legend Billie Jean King in 1979 and Belgium’s Kim Clijsters on her way to the title in 2009.
World number 12 Bencic is the highest-ranked player that Radocano has overcome in her short professional career, which she began this year.
Next, Radokano plays with Greek Maria Sakkari, who defeated Czech Karolina Pliskova, this year’s Wimbledon runner-up, 6-4, 6-4.
“It was a very difficult match,” she said after the win. “I’m here and I only care about what I can do and I’m finally drawing my career.”
Radocano is aiming to become the first female qualifier to reach a grad slam final, the first British woman to win a major since Virginia Wade at Wimbledon 1977 and the first from her country to win the Flushing Meadows title since Wade also in 1968.
Radocano became the youngest player to qualify for the semi-finals of Flushing Meadows since Russian Maria Sharapova in 2005, and she is only a few months younger than Canadian Leila Fernandes, who will face Belarusian Arina Sabalenka in the other semi-final.
“Seeing so many young players doing well shows how strong the new generation is,” said Radocano.
This year’s tournament will witness the crowning of a player for the first time in the Grand Slam tournament, after all previous winners were eliminated.
Radokano compensated for her 1-3 delay in the first set to win an exciting 6-3 victory after winning five consecutive games, while one break in the fifth game of the second set was enough to settle it and thus the confrontation in its favour.
The British ended the match with 23 winning kicks and only 12 direct fouls.
© 2021 AFP