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Novak Djokovic Defeats Alexander Zverev, Eyes 21st Major Title and Calendar Grand Slam

Novak Djokovic is one match away from making history. On Friday, he let out a loud scream with his arms in the air as he defeated No. 4 Alexander Zverev, 4–6, 6–2, 6–4, 4–6, 6–2, in the U.S. Open semifinal match at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

If Djokovic defeats Daniil Medvedev on Sunday in the men's final, he will earn his 21st Grand Slam title and become the first male player to win a calendar Grand Slam since Rod Laver in 1969. The last player to achieve the calendar Slam was Steffi Graf in 1988. 

Djokovic described the winning feeling as a "hurricane" of emotions.

"It was amazing, it was the best atmosphere,” Djokovic said in the post-match press conference. “These are the moments we live for, the kind of unique opportunities we dream of and wake up and have motivation to do the same thing over and over again. It pays off when you are playing in this incredible stadium."

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After dropping the first set for the fourth straight match, Djokovic bounced back and won set two in 36 minutes. His third set win featured an exchange of 53 shots, the longest rally in this year's U.S. Open.

After Zverev put up a valiant effort to force a fifth set, Djokovic—who was 35–10 in fifth setters entering Friday's match—recorded a masterful 6-2 performance to punch his ticket to the Grand Slam title match. 

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It was the fourth meeting between the two stars this year and the third win by Djokovic. In the Tokyo Olympics, Zverev defeated Djokovic in the semifinals and would go on to win the Gold medal.

In New York, Djokovic kept his journey to making history alive. In addition to the potential calendar Grand Slam, Djokovic sits in a three-way tie with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal with 20 major titles. 

Medvedev earned his spot in the U.S. Open final after a dominant performance against No. 12 Felix Auger-Aliassime on Friday. In his victory, Medvedev became the first Russian man to reach multiple major finals in the same year, according to ESPN Stats and Info. He played against Djokovic in the 2021 Australian Open men's final, where he lost in straight sets.

While Djokovic has a chance at history in front of him, he says he is only thinking about it as another chance for a title.

"I am going for a fourth US Open, that's all I am thinking about," he said laughing. "It is only one match left. I'm all in. I have to put my heart, soul, body... I am going to play this match like it's the last match of my career."

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