US Open: Novak Djokovic eases past Ben Shelton, sends clear message

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US Open: Novak Djokovic eases past Ben Shelton, sends clear message
US Open: Novak Djokovic eases past Ben Shelton, sends clear message © Al Bello / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Novak Djokovic enjoyed a brilliant day at Arthur Ashe Stadium, sweeping past Ben Shelton and reaching the title clash. Novak beat the young gun 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 in two hours and 40 minutes, controlling the pace and remaining on the title course.

Djokovic will compete in his 36th Major final, extending his record and seeking the fourth crown in New York after winning three of the previous nine title matches! Novak tamed the rival's booming serves with ease, reducing Ben to a couple of aces and holding the strings of the rallies in his hands to race over the top and remain in contention for the 24th Major crown.

The Serb lost serve two times in the third set, keeping the pressure on the other side and seizing five out of 14 break points. Novak hit more winners and unforced errors, staying in control despite one challenging period and sealing the deal in straight sets.

Ben served at 84% in the opening set, but it brought him nothing! They performed well in the opening five games before Novak shifted into a higher gear on the return at 3-2.

Novak Djokovic is through to his tenth US Open final, seeking the fourth title.

Djokovic earned two break points and converted the first after the rival's loose volley.

Shelton faced four set points and denied them, holding to reduce the deficit and prolong the set. Novak played against the only break chance while serving for the set at 5-3. He saved them and wrapped up the set after Ben's loose forehand for 6-3 in 34 minutes.

The Serb dropped seven points behind the initial shot in the second set, breaking the American's resistance in the second part. Shelton hit a double fault in the fifth game and pushed Djokovic 3-2 in front. The home star squandered game points at 2-4 and fell on the third break point after Novak's great net coverage.

Djokovic clinched the set with a service winner in game eight, opening a 6-3, 6-2 advantage in an hour and 18 minutes and marching toward the finish line. The Serb passed the American at the net in the third set's first game, landing a forehand winner to clinch a break and move closer to the finish line.

Shelton denied a break point in game five, remaining one break behind and hoping for return chances. Ben finally showed something more on the return in the eighth game, coming from 30-15 behind and creating a break chance after Novak's forehand error.

Djokovic sent a backhand long to drop serve for the first time after two hours and one minute! With a boost on his side, Ben held at 30 in the ninth game, playing with more energy and challenging Novak for the first time. Djokovic struggled again on serve in the tenth game, offering his rival a set point.

Novak denied it with a powerful serve and held after two deuces to level the score at 5-5 and prolong the set. The more experienced player placed a backhand crosscourt winner in the 11th game, earning a break at 15 and serving for the victory at 6-5. Djokovic experienced issues for the third straight service game, offering his rival two break chances. Novak denied them in style before squandering a match point.

Shelton created the third break chance and seized it after Djokovic's loose smash, sending the set into a tie break. Djokovic earned an early mini-break and moved 3-0 up with a volley winner at the net. The Serb grabbed another mini-break in the fifth point following a brilliant return, moving 4-1 up and closer to the finish line.

A volley winner sent a three-time winner 5-1 ahead before the American pulled one mini-break back with a forced error. Shelton climbed back to 4-5 after the opponent's error before Djokovic earned his second match point after a great point at the net. Novak converted it ti seal the deal and set Sunday's final clash versus Carlos Alcaraz or Daniil Medvedev.

Us Open Novak Djokovic Ben Shelton

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