World No 1 Novak Djokovic was at his absolute best as he came back from a set down to annihilate Italian Matteo Berrettini in the quarterfinals of the US Open on Thursday. Djokovic beat the Italian 5-7, 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 to go one step closer to a calendar Grand Slam.
This is the third time the top-ranked Djokovic has defeated Berrettini. The first one came in the quarters of the French Open and the second came in the Wimbledon final to equal Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer's record of 20 Grand Slams.
If Djokovic manages to get two more victories under his belt, he will join Don Budge (1938) and Rod Laver (1962 and 1969) as the only men to claim all four major tennis singles trophies in one season. Three women have done it, most recently Steffi Graf in 1988; Serena Williams' bid in 2015 ended in the U.S. Open semifinals.
Answering a question about the record, Djokovic said: “Do not ask me anything about history. I know it’s there.”
“I'm pumped," Djokovic said, looking ahead to what awaits. "The bigger the challenge, the more glory in overcoming it.”
After trailing in the match by losing the first set 5-7, Djokovic evened the quarters encounter at one set apiece by winning the second set 6-2. It was in the second set that the Serbian broke serve for the first time for a 3-1 lead and then broke again to end the set. He had put constant pressure on the Italian by returning his big serves with ease.
Following that it was no stopping the World No 1. With brilliant volleys, netplay and strong wide forehands, Djokovic won two straight sets to edge closer to a famous win.
With 26th straight victory in Grand Slam matches, Djokovic equalled his third-longest streak. He will now face Olympic gold medalist Alexander Zverev in the semis.
The roof at Arthur Ashe Stadium was closed during the set with an expected storm moving into the area.
The encounter was a Wimbledon final repeat as Djokovic came back strongly after a set down as Berrettini could not sustain his energy and failed to match Djokovic's level.
Making almost every service game difficult for the No. 6 seed, Djokovic accumulated 16 breakpoints, converting five.