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Sock, Jack

11.09.2021 - 07:15 Uhr

Alexander Zverev covered his face with his hands and threw his head back momentarily as he began the walk back down the corridor from Arthur Ashe Stadium on Friday night. It was the realisation he had gone the distance with Novak Djokovic and ultimately came up short in his bid to halt the World No. 1’s pursuit of history after three hours and 38 minutes.A year ago, he came within two points of capturing his first Grand Slam title at Flushing Meadows only for Dominic Thiem to prevail in five sets. On Friday night, while he did not come quite so close, the mountain again proved too big to climb as Djokovic pulled clear 4-6, 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2.“It was a great battle. Kind of a little bit disappointed with the start of the fifth set. To be honest, apart from that, it was a good match. I think we both left it all out there,” Zverev said. “The second break in the fifth set was so ridiculously unlucky that it sometimes happen. But he's No. 1 in the world for a reason and he showed that tonight.”Having foiled the Serbian’s bid for the Golden Slam in 2021 with his victory from a set and a break down in the Tokyo Olympics semi-final, the German was confident he could repeat the feat at Flushing Meadows. Following his run to the gold medal and victory in Cincinnati, Zverev was on a 16-match winning streak to the semi-finals. He had dropped only one set en route this campaign – in the third round against Jack Sock – and came within a set of becoming the first man since Djokovic in 2015-16 to reach consecutive US Open finals. Zverev admitted the edge his opponent held on Friday night came down to his mental toughness on the biggest points.“He comes up with the best tennis when he needs to. We play 55-shot rallies. The only way for me to win that rally is to hit a forehand winner. That says it all, on a set point [down],” Zverev said.“There is a reason why he's won 20 Grand Slams. There's a reason why he's spent the most weeks at World No. 1. There's a lot of reasons for that. “I think mentally he's the best player to ever play the game. Mentally in the most important moments I would rather play against anybody else but him.”The 24-year-old expected his conqueror to complete the Grand Slam in Sunday’s final against second seed Daniil Medvedev. “Nobody thought anybody will do it again, what Rod Laver did. To see him have the chance on Sunday - I do believe that he will do it - is great. He's breaking every single record that there is,” Zverev said.“If you look at the stats, if you look at the pure game of tennis action, he's the greatest of all time. Nobody is there with him, because most weeks World No. 1, most ATP Masters 1000 titles, most likely going to be the most Grand Slams at the end of the day. And he has the chance of winning all four in the same year. How do you compete with that?”

06.09.2021 - 09:22 Uhr

Novak Djokovic’s bid for a calendar-year Grand Slam in 2021 enters its final week on Monday as the top seed takes on #NextGenATP American Jenson Brooksby for the first time at the US Open. The Serbian has never lost to an American at Flushing Meadows in 10 previous ATP Head2Head meetings and stands unbeaten in his past 20 showdowns with players from the US overall.The three-time champion will be wary of the 20-year-old wild card – the youngest from the home contenders to reach the fourth round in New York since a 20-year-old Andy Roddick in 2002. It will be No. 1 in the FedEx ATP Race to Turin versus sixth in the ATP Race to Milan.Brooksby was outside the Top 200 in the FedEx ATP Rankings less than four months ago, but cracked the Top 100 earlier this month after he reached the final in Newport and the semi-finals in Washington, D.C. He avenged a first-round Roland Garros defeat to Aslan Karatsev from May to book his maiden Grand Slam fourth-round berth. “It will be a great challenge. One of the toughest there can be,” Brooksby said. “But I'm really believing in myself with what I'm showing out there so far. I got a great team around me to help me recover.. [It] will be really exciting.“I'm sure it will be a full crowd. I'm excited to see how well I can focus, see how well I can play with one of the biggest challenges and with one of the biggest crowds in a court that you can get.”Djokovic won his 17th straight showdown against Kei Nishikori, following a hard-fought four-set triumph in the third round. Brooksby will be sure to ride the home crowd support, not that it will faze his opponent.“Arthur Ashe is the place where you bring the energy, that's for sure, where you feel this kind of electric atmosphere, particularly in the matches like this where it's decided in a few points,” Djokovic said after his win over Nishikori. “Yeah, the crowd was involved. It was loud. It was nice. I thrived on that.”Tokyo Olympics gold medallist Alexander Zverev continues his campaign for a maiden Grand Slam title when he tackles #NextGenATP Italian Jannik Sinner on Arthur Ashe Stadium. The pair split two prior ATP Head2Head meetings, with Sinner having won their only previous clash at a major at Roland Garros last year.Sinner survived 17th seed Gael Monfils in five sets to reach the fourth round in New York for the first time, while Zverev advanced after Jack Sock retired in the fourth set with a groin injury. Following his Tokyo and Cincinnati title runs, Zverev looks for his 15th straight match win against the 20-year-old. In the second German vs. Italian fourth-round showdown on Monday, qualifier Oscar Otte takes on Wimbledon finalist Matteo Berrettini on Louis Arrmstrong Stadium for a place in his maiden Grand Slam quarter-final. The World No. 144 would become the lowest-ranked US Open quarter-finalist since No. 174 Jimmy Connors in 1991 should he level the ledger at 1-1 in the pair’s ATP Head2Head.Otte has already beaten two Italians in the main draw this year – 20th seed Lorenzo Sonego and Andreas Seppi. Sixth seed Berrettini is bidding to reach his third major quarter-final of 2021 and comes off a five-set victory over Winston-Salem champion Ilya Ivashka.A first-time Grand Slam quarter-finalist is guaranteed on Louis Armstrong Stadium when 22nd seed Reilly Opelka and unseeded South African Lloyd Harris meet for the second time. The 24-year-old American narrowly edged the World No. 46 in a third-set tie-break en route to the Toronto final last month. Harris picked up his third Top 10 victory of the season when he defeated seventh seed Denis Shapovalov in straight sets in the third round.

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