At 36, Novak Djokovic seems to be in an echelon where he sustains himself purely on the triumphs he garners on the court and his incredible consistency, making it to the finals of major tournaments like the Australian Open, Roland Garros, Wimbledon, and the US Open this season.
Two years after his loss to Daniil Medvedev in the 2021 finals, the US Open in New York exemplifies his relentless pursuit of excellence as he ardently vies for the title again, overpowering Ben Shelton with an impressive scoreline of 6-3, 6-2, and 7-6 (4), wrapping up the contest in 2 hours and 41 minutes.
A Living Legend Surpassing Records
Djokovic continuously solidifies his position in the pantheon of tennis greats, and the statistics substantiate this claim. His recent feat marks his tenth final appearance in the last Grand Slam, equalizing the historic record set by Bill Tilden. With victorious outings in the 2011, 2015, and 2018 editions, Djokovic’s legendary status is further embellished with a staggering 36 Grand Slam finals, setting a seemingly impossible benchmark in tennis history.
The Serbian powerhouse seems to embody perfection with each game, boasting a remarkable record of triumphing in 22 out of the last 23 semifinals he participated in across the premier platforms of the sport. His prowess and strategy have left an indelible mark, reflected in his outstanding 36-11 overall record, a testimony to his dominance and unwavering resolve.
A Mastery Display Against Ben Shelton
In a face-off with Shelton, Djokovic exhibited why he is considered a formidable adversary on the court. Shelton, despite his potential and power, found himself overwhelmed, unable to match the precision and skill displayed by Djokovic. On the Arthur Ashe court, with the looming threat of rain leading to closure, both players were spared the scorching heat, providing a conducive environment for Djokovic to dictate the pace and trajectory of the game from the onset.
Shelton found himself succumbing to pressure, committing a series of unforced errors that essentially served victory to Djokovic on a silver platter. Shelton struggled to find his footing in a game where Djokovic seemed in his element, particularly dominant against American adversaries with a staggering 31 consecutive victories. Despite fleeting moments of resilience, including a powerful serve clocked at 230 kilometres per hour, his efforts were dwarfed by Djokovic’s experienced and tactical play.
As Djokovic further widened the gap with a subsequent break early in the third set, an eerie silence enveloped the usually raucous stadium. A lapse in Djokovic’s concentration saw the score narrow to 4-5, offering Shelton a glimmer of hope with a set point. However, as the game progressed to a tiebreak, Djokovic reclaimed his momentum, shattering the aspirations for an American in the finals and keeping alive the anticipation for a face-off between him and Carlos Alcaraz in the ultimate showdown on Sunday.