Alexander Zverev: US Open against Novak Djokovic after a big fight


What a fight, what a drama!

Alexander Zverev (24) has to wait for his first Grand Slam title. In the semifinals of the US Open, the new edition of the Olympic semifinals, the Olympic champion lost to world number one Novak Djokovic (34) 6: 4, 2: 6, 4: 6, 6: 4, 6: 2. After 3:35 hours, the Serb converted his first match point.

In the final on Sunday he will face the Russian Daniil Medwedew (25), who knocked the Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime (21) 6: 4, 7: 5, 6: 2 off the pitch in his semifinals.

As suspected, it was a close game in which both players did not give each other anything for a long time. From the beginning there were sometimes spectacular rallies, which led the spectators on both sides to hurricane-like emotional outbursts. In Tokyo, Zverev was still ahead of the game, now it was about three instead of two winning sets and Djokovic turned the tables again.



To despair! Alexander Zverev quarreled with the electronic linesman and then he got something in his eyePhoto: John Minchillo / AP

Zverev went into the game highly concentrated, not only acting and reacting and patiently waiting for his chance. It came at 4: 4 when he took the serve from Djokovic. He easily won the following service game and thus the first set 6: 4.

The start of the second round then went completely wrong. Inexplicable slight mistakes, exactly what was not allowed to happen, as Zverev himself explained before the game. “You have to play perfectly,” he said.

He was now far from that and Djokovic quickly led 3-0 and could not be taken away from the lead. With the second break he got the set 6-2. The worst run that Zverev played at this US Open.

But the five-time Masters winner quickly recovered. At 2-2 in the third set, he even had two breakballs, which he missed. He struggled with the line technology, as he did recently, and saw Djokovic’s point to make it 3-2 out of bounds. But of course the system does not correct itself.


Novak Djokovic has already won the Australian Open, the French Open and Wimbledon this year

Novak Djokovic has already won the Australian Open, the French Open and Wimbledon this yearPhoto: John Minchillo / AP

The match was now world-class. The last game of the set, in which Djokovic Zverev took the serve and finished it 6: 4, was probably the best of the entire tournament.

Three unbelievable rallies, in which the audience could hardly be tamed, showed what level both are on. In the longest rally, the ball went back and forth 53 times.

That’s a world record for a match. Pete Sampras (50) and Andre Agassi (51), who chased the ball back and forth 51 times in the final of the US Open, have held the old one since 1999.


Alexander Zverev has won almost everything, only one Grand Slam title is still missing

Alexander Zverev has won almost everything, only one Grand Slam title is still missingPhoto: Elise Amendola / AP

Of course, Zverev did not give up. He had a brief problem at the beginning of the fourth movement when something caught his eye. Since there are contact lenses there too, it took him a few seconds to resolve the dilemma.

At least that didn’t get him out of the rhythm. He took Djokovic’s serve again after a long time and served the set to 6: 4. So it went into the showdown that so many had expected.


Model Paris Hilton is New Yorker and watched Alexander Zverev's match against Novak Djokovic on Friday evening

Model Paris Hilton is New Yorker, watched Alexander Zverev’s match against Novak Djokovic on Friday eveningPhoto: Sarah Stier / AFP

Paris Hilton (40) was also enthusiastic about the game. The model, born in New York, watched the game from a box. Ex-ice hockey star Henrik Lundqvist (39), who left the New York Rangers a year ago, did not miss the spectacle.

Fifth movement, the atmosphere in the Arthur Ashe Stadium, which is jam-packed with 24,000 people, was splendid. However, it was now faster than expected and hoped from the German point of view, because Zverev weakened during his serve in the decisive phase.


Alexander Zverev screams out all his tension.  The match against Novak Djokovic demanded everything from him

Alexander Zverev screams out all his tension. The match against Novak Djokovic demanded everything from himPhoto: KENA BETANCUR / AFP

Double fault, avoidable mistake, Djokovic thanked him politely and took the chances ice cold. Two breaks to 4-0, their own service games through, that was the seventh win in the tenth game against the German. He had success again at 1: 5 with the fifth breakball, but in the end the round went 6: 2 to Djokovic.

Tennis legend Rod Laver (83), who arrived in New York and watched the game from the box, is the only player still alive to have made it to the Grand Slam, i.e. to win all four majors in one calendar year (1962, 1969) .

He may now be able to honor Djokovic on Sunday as the third player to win all four Grand Slams in one year after him and Don Budge († 84/1938).

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