Novak Djokovic played Matteo Berrettini in the quarterfinals of the US Open 2021, on the back of a 25-match winning streak in Grand Slam tournaments. Interestingly, it was their third major tournament match in the same calendar year.
Furthermore, the American Slam this year appeared to be more difficult for the Serbian World No. 1 than prior campaigns.
Djokovic, without a doubt, stood to lose more than any other tennis player in Flushing Meadows, New York. Djokovic is one Slam away from matching Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal’s career Grand Slam totals while competing for the calendar-year Grand Slam.
Indeed, the strain on his shoulders has been immense. As a result, his statistics at the US Open 2021 in comparison to prior years have somewhat confirmed this.
Nifty graphic from the world feed on Djokovic’s route to the 2021 US Open QFs in comparison to his previous QF appearances in New York. pic.twitter.com/Vn8fMqU95u— Reem Abulleil (@ReemAbulleil) September 9, 2021
For example, the Serbian ace has appeared in 131 games this season, the highest since 2010. Similarly, he has lost three sets so far and has played for a total of ten hours and 25 minutes, the highest since 2008.
Djokovic has always found a way back into the contest, even when he has lost the first set. This time, however, taming the brilliant Italian Berrettini may not have been so straightforward.
Djokovic’s enters semi-finals
Both Djokovic and Berrettini showed incredible tenacity in maintaining their service games. The duo did this by saving many breakpoints and playing the first set for almost an hour. In the end, the Italians found a flaw in Serbia’s strategy. As a result, when serving at 5-5, he got the critical break. Berrettini then cruised to a 7-5 victory by serving out the set.
Djokovic had dropped the first set in both of his last two matches, against Kei Nishikori and Jenson Brooksby. He never gave his opponent a chance to stay in the contest after that.
This time, too, he upped his game and managed to eventually breeze past the Italian challenger.