Right when the U.S. Open was nearly its fantasy end of the week, Daniil Medvedev did maybe the most Medvedev-like thing and wrecked everything.
With a shocking success over Carlos Alcaraz, the defending champ and 20-year-old wunderkind of the game, Medvedev, the game’s cheerful savage, energetic wiseguy and irregular baseliner took a wrench to the well known plans to watch the following part of Alcaraz’s mounting generational contention with Novak Djokovic.
Sunday will feature a rematch of the 2021 U.S. Open final between Medvedev and Djokovic, rather than a rematch of the epic Alcaraz-Djokovic final from three weeks ago, which was a rematch of the Wimbledon final in July, which was a rematch of their semifinal showdown at the French Open in June.
On that day, Medvedev, the 27-year-old Russian with the crazy strokes, silly jokes and dead fish party, passed on Djokovic’s mission to turn into the first man in quite a while to come out on top for each of the four Graduate Hammer championships in a schedule year shredded, drubbing the apparently magnificent Serbian boss in three sets.
“Novak is in every case better compared to the past time he played,” Medvedev said. ” I have to try to be my best in order to defeat Novak on Sunday because Novak will be at his best.
Friday night, it was the apparently relentless Alcaraz, the game’s gem existing apart from everything else, who persevered through the head-on effect of a party crash. Medvedev pursued each ball and snapped off perhaps of the most deadly serve in the game over the course of the evening, matching Alcaraz went for shot and driving him to the brink of blowing a gasket in the subsequent set. He almost tossed his racket to the ground however kept down without a second to spare. The Russian then prevailed in four sets over the tournament’s top seed and current world No. 1 despite Alcaraz’s comeback attempt in the third set. 1, 7-6 (3), 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.
“I will adjust my perspective,” Alcaraz said after the strained fight. ” I don’t have the maturity to deal with these kinds of matches.
Alcaraz had his moments, especially in the first few points of the third set, when he started dancing across the court and started taking control of points by flying into the net to hit his stinging shots. He found that additional dash on his ground strokes and had Medvedev looking down interestingly the entire night as Alcaraz divided the lead.
However, after a bathroom break and a change of clothes, Medvedev regained his youthful form and transformed into a human backboard capable of sneaking a ball past his most gifted and acrobatic opponent at the tightest angle.
That was the stunt he pulled off in the long distance race 6th round of the fourth set, which endured almost 15 minutes. As he charged toward the net on his second opportunity to break Alcaraz’s serve, he flung a backhand return onto the Spaniard’s shoelaces. He gazed toward the group and waved his fingers in the air, as he had been doing the entire evening, his what about some-affection for-me signal.
Two games later, he had secured the second triumph of the men’s elimination rounds in which sturdiness prevailed upon style. Once more, the fingers rose into the air. This year, Alcaraz had dominated him twice. Not on this day, and afterward the time had come to start zeroing in on coming duel with Djokovic, which resembles no other test in the game.
Medvedev stated, “It’s a mental preparation where you want to go to war.”
Djokovic, who rarely performs better than he does during a Grand Slam final, particularly in recent times. He is about to play his fourth game this year, winning two of them already.
He stated on Friday evening, “Grand Slams are the biggest goals and objectives that I have.” I set my timetable so I could perform at my best in these competitions, and that reoccurred this year.”
Djokovic had to defeat 20-year-old Floridian thunderbolt Ben Shelton to win the final. Similar to Alcaraz, Shelton provided one of the tournament’s most entertaining performances each time he took the court at the U.S. Open.
He played the kind of tennis that could make every American fan pay homage to the spirit of “Big” Bill Tilden or whatever magical force inspired Shelton to pursue tennis rather than football as a teenager. He was a racket-waving highlight reel against Djokovic once more.
That second serve at 143 mph and the frightful forehand the kid ripped across the court The athleticism with which he swam back to transform solid lobs into rocking overhands without fear The spirit in his voice as he yelled an exuberant “yeah!” and those arms that were rippling out of his shirt without sleeves every time he took a big point, he felt like a kid on the playground. Additionally, that touch on drop volleys, which land and then spin back toward the net.
Tragically for Shelton, the scoring framework in tennis offers no style focuses, and in Djokovic he confronted not just a 23-time Huge homerun champ and the best player of the cutting edge period yet a definitive expert of tennis yoga. For a really long time, and never more than in his most recent stretch of strength, the 36-year-old Djokovic has been turning the power and style of the flashiest and most impressive challengers against them.
Djokovic executed the kind of tactical deconstruction of Shelton that has crushed the hopes, positive vibes, and flash that so many younger players have come at him with before, playing in a record-breaking 47th Grand Slam semifinal. Djokovic defeated the young man with the sculpted arms 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (7-4) in just over two and a half hours without using any more energy than was necessary.
He picked off the missiles on Shelton’s serve like he was catching butterflies in a field on a late summer afternoon and caught up with Shelton’s drop shots from the back of the court for the majority of the afternoon. Djokovic even stole Shelton’s much-talked-about post-match celebration, miming a phone at his ear and slamming it down before giving the young man an icy handshake when it came to Shelton whipping a forehand into the net.
After Djokovic left the court, Shelton saw his imitator on video. He stated that telling him how to celebrate is not something he particularly enjoys.
Shelton gave Djokovic a glare as he approached the net, saying, “I think if you win the match, you deserve to do whatever you want.” That is all I can say about the fact that I was raised to believe that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery.
Following Shelton, Djokovic commented, “I just love Ben’s celebration,” with a wry smile. I copied him because I thought it was incredibly original.
Now that you know that, Djokovic enjoys flashy tennis highlights just as much as anyone else. He took the court in the third set with a nearly insurmountable two-set lead against him. He swung as hard as he could and watched Shelton hit a drop shot. Djokovic gave the deserved racket clap to the moment. Beautiful game, young man. He cruised into the court a few minutes later and rolled a passing shot to once more break Shelton’s serve and spirit.
All of this happened in front of nearly 24,000 people at Arthur Ashe Stadium, ready for a high-octane fight. The roof was closed because there were thunderstorms in the area, and every time Shelton put on a show of power, touch, speed, and athleticism and won, the roars made you feel like you could reach out and touch it.
That was especially true in the third set, when Shelton was down 2-4 and desperately trying to win the match. He did not disappoint when he got a point to break Djokovic’s serve, drawing him into a wide forehand that rattled his brain. Two games later, in the midst of Djokovic’s only erroneous and poor-serving lull of the day (it happens), he held a break point and all the positive energy.
Once more, Djokovic stifled the action with his signature speed of 124 mph. serve far and wide, which Shelton was unable to handle. Order had been brought back.
The packed stadium could still take in a little more of Shelton and Djokovic. Shelton held on for a while after losing to him 5-1 after saving match point and sending the third set to a tiebreaker. Djokovic, on the other hand, deserved to be in his 36th Grand Slam final and had work to do. As he had anticipated, after securing it, it was his turn to take in the noise and hang up the phone.
He stated, “I know that I deserve this because I know how much work, dedication, and energy I put into trying to be in this position.” I generally trust in myself, in my own capacities, you know, in my abilities, in my quality as a tennis player to have the option to convey when it makes a difference.”