World number one Novak Djokovic is one step closer to becoming the first man in 52 years to win a calendar Grand Slam, defeating Alexander Zverev in an enthralling semi-final to book his place in the sumit clash of the US Open on Friday.
Top-seeded Djokovic won 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 in three hours and 35 minutes, exacting revenge for his defeat against Zverev at the Tokyo Olympics.
“I’m going to treat the next match like it’s the last match of my career,” Djokovic said. “There’s only one more match left. All in. Let’s do it. I’m going to put my heart and my soul and my body and my head into that one.”
The Serbian ace bounced back after a setback in the first set, winning the next two on the bounce before Zverev rallied to force a fifth. However, Djokovic was a notch above his German opponent in the decider, breaking Zverev thrice to set up a final date with Russia’s world number two Daniil Medvedev.
This will be the second time this year Djokovic and Medvedev will face off in a Grand Slam final this year, after the Serbian won in straight sets to lift a record ninth Australian Open title in February.
Djokovic then went on to inflict just the third defeat for Rafael Nadal at the Rolland Garros en route to capturing his second French Open title before defeating Matteo Berretini in the Wimbledon final to make it three out of three Grand Slams so far.
That win also drew him level with his ‘Big Three’ rivals Roger Federer and Nadal on the all-time list for singles Slam titles, with all three having won 20 each. He will now seek to win his 21st on Sunday.
Australian legend Rod Laver, who was in stands watching Djokovic beat Zverev, was the last man to win all four Grand Slam titles on offer in a single calendar year, in 1969.