Novak Djokovic was "playing for history" and suffered from nerves in his US Open final defeat to Daniil Medvedev, according to previous champion Dominic Thiem, who backed the 34-year-old to return "stronger than ever" in 2022.

Medvedev prevented Djokovic from becoming the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win all four grand slams in a single year, beating him 6-4 6-4 6-4 in Sunday's thrilling showpiece.

Djokovic was seen in tears during the third set as his hopes of adding the US Open to his run of wins at the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon this year slipped away.

But Thiem tipped Djokovic to bounce back from the disappointment of defeat and return in 2022 even stronger.

"One unbelievable goal slipped out of his hands yesterday," Thiem told Stats Perform.

 

"I expect him to be as strong as ever in 2022. I think after he won in Roland Garros, everybody was only talking about the calendar slam – first about the golden slam, and then about the calendar slam.

"He [Djokovic] was under pressure. Nobody can feel that or anything like that because of it being the calendar slam.

"I can feel it in a smaller way, probably from last year's final and from some other matches. And at some points it's just getting to you. And so, I really felt for him as well towards the end of the match.

"So, it can happen that it also makes him even stronger next year when all these talks and all this pressure is not that big anymore."

Thiem, who missed the tournament with a wrist injury that will rule him out until 2022, believes nerves were a factor in Djokovic's defeat but agreed with Medvedev's assessment of the Serbian as the greatest of all time – though he could not set him apart from Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

"For me, there are three GOATs in the game, and each of them has achieved something very unique," Thiem said of the trio locked on 20 major titles each.

"So it's still the same for me as it was before. The three of them are the best in the history to me.

"And I'm only super happy to be in the same era with them and to be able to compete with them. Hopefully many more times next year again."

Daniil Medvedev was relieved to close out his first grand slam title at the US Open after revealing he was cramping in his quest to conquer Novak Djokovic.

Medvedev blitzed world number one and 20-time major champion Djokovic 6-4 6-4 6-4 in the men's final at Flushing Meadows on Sunday.

Djokovic's bid to become just the third man and first since Rod Laver in 1969 to claim a calendar Grand Slam, and to surpass Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for the most major men's titles, was emphatically ended by Medvedev.

Medvedev fired down 16 aces and hit 38 winners in a ruthless display on Arthur Ashe Stadium. However, the second seed conceded he was worried at the end of the third set as he tried to see off Djokovic.

Russian star Medvedev double-faulted twice in succession when his first championship point arrived and gave back one of those breaks to Djokovic, who closed to 5-4. But the former came out to serve again and again served a double on a championship point, though he had another in store and the Serb netted on the backhand.

"I definitely had it [pressure]," Medvedev – who lost to Djokovic in the 2021 Australian Open final, having gone down to Nadal in the 2019 US Open showpiece – told reporters. "I started cramping at 5-3, I think because of the pressure at 5-2 where I had match points, I didn't make it. My legs were gone after 5-3. At 5-4, left leg, I almost couldn't walk. If you really look the replay, when I walked to the towel, my leg was just going behind. I was trying not to show it. If Novak feels it, it's not good.

"Again, 40-15, that's two match points. I was like, C'mon, go for an ace, just try to make it. I had a huge double-fault. Second one was like in the middle of the net. Okay, I have one more. Just try to make a first serve. I made it and I'm really happy."

Medvedev became the first Russian man to win a grand slam since Marat Safin at the 2005 Australian Open.

The 25-year-old also became the ninth different men's champion of the last 14 years in New York, including first-time major winners Dominic Thiem, Marin Cilic, Andy Murray and Juan Martin del Potro. During the same time, the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon have each been claimed by four different men.

Medvedev – the second player since Ivan Lendl in 1987 to lose just one set en route to the men's US Open crown after Nadal in 2010 – is the fifth player to clinch a slam final against Djokovic.

He is also the fourth player with four or more wins over Djokovic as world number one, after Nadal (nine), Federer (five) and Murray (five).

"It definitely makes it sweeter [beating a world number one for first major trophy]," Medvedev said. "I mean, a grand slam is a grand slam. I would win it against Botic [Van de Zandschulp] in the final, probably I would be same happy.

"For the confidence and for my future career, knowing that I beat somebody who was 27-0 in a year in grand slams, I lost to him in Australia, he was going for huge history, and knowing that I managed to stop him it definitely makes it sweeter and brings me confidence for what is to come on hard courts so far, but let's see about other surfaces."

Medvedev was also asked about his celebration – the 13-time ATP Tour champion fell to the court after vanquishing Djokovic, with his eyes closed and tongue out.

It was in reference to FIFA's video game and the "dead fish" celebration.

"I like to play FIFA," he said. "I like to play PlayStation. It's called the dead fish celebration. If you know your opponent when you play FIFA, many times you're going to do this. You're going to score a goal, you're up 5-0, you do this one.

"I talked to the guys in the locker, they're young guys, super chill guys. They play FIFA. They were like, That's legendary. Everybody who I saw who plays FIFA thinks that's legendary. That's how I wanted to make it.

"Again, it's not because I want to be on the newspaper talking about FIFA celebration or whatever. I don't care. But I wanted to make it special for people to love, for my friends to love who I play FIFA with. I knew I'm going to make it. I got hurt a little bit. It's not easy to make it on hard courts. I got hurt a little bit, but I'm happy I made it legendary for myself."

Despite all appearances as he ploughed through the draws at all four grand slams this year, world number one Novak Djokovic does have a breaking point. 

Djokovic hit it on Sunday, falling 6-4 6-4 6-4 to Daniil Medvedev in the US Open final as the 20-time major champion finally proved unable to will himself out of an early hole. 

It was the fifth successive match in which Djokovic had dropped the opening set at Flushing Meadows, and the Serb superstar acknowledged afterward all of the energy he expended to get to the brink of the first men's calendar Grand Slam –since 1969 and a record 21st major title might finally have caught up with him. 

"Could be, could be [time spent on court a factor]. I had more hours on the court spent from Daniil, that's for sure," Djokovic said at his post-match news conference. "But was also emotionally very demanding period for me in the last five, six months. Slams and Olympics and playing at home in Belgrade.

"Everything was coming together for me here and kind of accumulating all the emotions that I've been through.

"Unfortunately I didn't make it in the final step. But when you draw a line, you have to be very satisfied with the year. Three wins, three slams and a final. For the last couple of years I've been very transparent and vocal about my goals, to play my best tennis at slams. I'm managing to do that.

"Of course, I was short today for another slam title, but I have to be proud with everything that my team and I have achieved. And in tennis we learn very quickly how to turn the next page.

"Very soon there are some more challenges, more things that are coming up. I have learned to overcome these kind of tough losses in the finals of slams, the ones that hurt the most."

This defeat sent a range of emotions surging through the emotional 34-year-old as he sat courtside while awaiting the trophy presentation. 

Asked what was going through his mind at that moment, Djokovic's initial answer was succinct. 

"Relief," he said. "I was glad it was over because the build up for this tournament and everything that mentally, emotionally I had to deal with throughout the tournament in the last couple of weeks was just a lot. It was a lot to handle.

"I was just glad that finally the run is over. At the same time I felt sadness, disappointment, and also gratitude for the crowd and for that special moment that they've created for me on the court."

Djokovic heaped praise on his opponent, saying he expects Medvedev to win more grand slams in the years ahead after the Russian broke through for his first.

That inevitably sparked thoughts of the coming generational change in the men's game, dominated for so long by Djokovic, Rafael Nadal (35) and Roger Federer (40).

With an astonishing 60 grand slam titles between them, their eventual departure from the stage will open up opportunities for Medvedev, Tokyo Olympics gold medallist Alexander Zverev and other younger players. 

Djokovic insisted he is not quite done yet, but he does believe that transition already is in progress. 

"The older guys are still hanging on," he said. "We're still trying to shine the light on the tennis world as much as we possibly can.

"I'm speaking on my own behalf. I still want to keep going, try to win more slams, play for my country. Those are the things that motivate me the most I think at this point.

"But the new generation, if you want to call them this way, is not anyone new. It's already current, established. Of course, they are going to take over.

"I think tennis is in good hands because they're all nice guys and very, very good, high-quality tennis players. They got something to offer on and off the court.

"We are hoping that the transition will be smooth in terms of the attention and the popularity of this sport. It's very important.

"We all, of course, want to win on the court, but at the same time we all at the top represent this sport. We need to be aware of that, take this responsibility and try to bring more fans to the world of tennis.

"At the end of the day that's what counts and that's what keeps our sport alive."

US Open champion Daniil Medvedev labelled Novak Djokovic the "greatest tennis player in history" after snapping the superstar's historic bid for a calendar Grand Slam.

Djokovic was seeking to become just the third man and first since Rod Laver in 1969 to claim all four majors in a year, however, the 20-time slam champion was swept aside by Medvedev 6-4 6-4 6-4 in Sunday's final at Flushing Meadows.

Medvedev showed no mercy as the world number two broke through for his first slam title, having lost to Djokovic in the 2021 Australian Open final and Rafael Nadal in the 2019 US Open decider.

As Medvedev celebrated his maiden major crown, the Russian star heaped praise on the beaten and emotional world number one – who shares the record for most men's slams alongside Nadal and Roger Federer.

"I think it's the first time I'm so nervous, saying my speech," Medvedev said during his trophy presentation in New York.

"First of all I want to say sorry for you, the fans, and Novak because I mean, we, we all know what he was going for today.

"What you accomplished this year and throughout your career – I never said this to anybody, but I will say right now for me: You are the greatest tennis player in history."

Medvedev became the first Russian man to win a grand slam since Marat Safin in 2005 on a memorable night.

The 25-year-old also became the ninth different men's champion of the last 14 years in New York, including first-time major winners Dominic Thiem, Marin Cilic, Andy Murray and Juan Martin del Potro. During the same time, the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon have each been claimed by four different men.

Medvedev – the second player since Ivan Lendl in 1987 to lose just one set en route to the men's US Open crown after Nadal in 2010 – is the fifth player to clinch a slam final against Djokovic.

"He is also the fourth player with four or more wins over Djokovic as world number one, after Nadal (nine), Federer (five) and Murray (five).

"Last but not least, I want to I want to finish my speech on a very sweet note. It's the third anniversary for me and my wife today," Medvedev added.

"You know, during the tournament I couldn't think of a present or anything, so when I went in the final, after semis, I thought okay if I lose, I need to find a present fast. ... I thought, well, if I lose, I have no time to have a present, so I have to win this match."

In Tokyo, it had been Alexander Zverev who denied Novak Djokovic his Olympic dream in a competition partially defined by controversy over the searing heat. In stifling temperatures inside Arthur Ashe Stadium on Sunday, the world number one saw his calendar Grand Slam hopes ended by a man often known for losing his cool.

Daniil Medvedev is among the most mercurial players on the ATP Tour. To watch Medvedev outwit his opponents when he is focused is one of the great joys of the modern game. When things go against him, though, his temper and his performance can unravel in a hurry.

To Djokovic's misfortune, in one of the biggest matches of his remarkable career, he came up against an inspired Medvedev enjoying obvious clarity of thought in a 6-4 6-4 6-4 win in the US Open final that means tennis' 'big three' remain locked on 20 grand slam titles apiece.

Medvedev is no stranger to heroics at tennis' largest stadium. Two years ago he enjoyed a rollercoaster journey in New York. Seeing red after being given a code violation for snatching a towel from a ballboy, Medvedev was mercilessly booed in a third-round match with Feliciano Lopez and openly goaded the fans thereafter in his on-court interview.

The booing continued in the subsequent round, but Medvedev's story that year was one of redemption, which ended with him receiving great credit for a remarkable near-comeback in a five-set epic final with Rafael Nadal.

Fast forward to a clash with another of the players firmly in the conversation for the best of all time and Medvedev sustained the levels he produced for two and a half sets against Nadal for three glorious sets as he ruthlessly took possession of a day that was supposed to belong to Djokovic.

Prior to the final, Djokovic had dropped the opening set in four of his previous matches at Flushing Meadows, winning three times in four sets and once in five.

As such, there was little reason not to expect a Djokovic comeback when Medvedev forged ahead in the showpiece.

However, in Medvedev, Djokovic found a foe completely unwilling to indulge his hopes of another recovery effort.

Coach Gilles Cervara labelled Medvedev a "genius" before the 2019 final and, when he plays as he did in clinching his first major title, it is tough to argue with that assessment.

As the elasticity of his movement enabled Medvedev to defend with an ease that belied the pressure of the occasion, Djokovic was simply unable to find a way through in the second set, which was decided with the artistry of the Russian's drop shot.

Djokovic could only hit into the tramlines having scurried in a desperate effort to meet such a shot, and that sense of desperation was evident when uncharacteristically poor play at the net from the Serbian gave Medvedev command in the third.

A pair of double faults played a role in Medvedev initially failing to serve out the match, the ice-cool focus escaping him for a brief moment, but there was to be no repeat when his second opportunity came as he finally clinched a maiden major on his third wedding anniversary.

So history denied. Not because of the heat, but because of a man keeping his cool in the face of the greatest challenge in the men's game and harnessing the genius that is now recognised by many more than just his coach. Extremely gracious in defeat, a potentially momentous day for Djokovic is now one he will want to forget. Instead, Medvedev and his wife have an anniversary to remember.

Novak Djokovic set aside the deep disappointment of missing out on the calendar Grand Slam by backing new US Open champion Daniil Medvedev to be a multiple major winner.

World number one and 20-time slam champion Djokovic had strung together a stunning run of wins at the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon, and he was a red-hot favourite to complete the set in New York.

A clean sweep of all four slams in a year had not been achieved since Rod Laver won the lot in 1969, and the great Australian was in the crowd as history appeared to beckon on Sunday.

Medvedev had other ideas and swept to a 6-4 6-4 6-4 win in two hours, 16 minutes, collecting his first title at this level but perhaps the first of many.

The world number two was tipped by a number of experts, including former world number one Jim Courier, to take the Flushing Meadows glory, and he came good as a flagging Djokovic paid the price for taking a circuitous route to the final.

Top seed Djokovic dropped the opening set of each of his matches from the third round onwards, spending more than five hours more on court than Medvedev on the way through the draw.

Speaking at the trophy presentation, Djokovic said: "I'd like to start off by saying congratulations to Daniil. Amazing. Amazing match, amazing tournament. If there is anyone that deserves a grand slam title now, it's you, so well done.

"You're one of the greatest guys on the tour. We get along very well. I wish you many more grand slams, many more majors to follow. I'm sure you will be on this stage in the future again."

Djokovic had appeared to well up before the final game of the match, on what was an emotional day for the Serb superstar.

He had demolished a racket in the second set as his rage grew, but come the end of the match he was looking to be sanguine.

Rather than airing his certain sense of frustration at falling just short of such a rare feat as a calendar Grand Slam, Djokovic looked for the positives.

And there was one that stood out, with the man who has often felt unloved by tennis crowds expressing his joy at the New York spectators showing him plenty of affection.

They had turned out in the hope of witnessing a famous moment in sporting history, which may have partly explained their raucous rallying behind the 34-year-old.

"I was thinking in both scenarios, kind of visualising myself standing here in front of you guys and what would I say," Djokovic told the crowd.

"I would like to say tonight that even though I have not won the match my heart is filled with joy and I am the happiest man alive, because you guys helped me feel very special on the court.

"You guys touch my soul. I've never felt like this in New York, I've never felt like this. Thank you so much for your support, everything you have done tonight for me. I love you and I'll see you soon."

Novak Djokovic fell agonisingly short of a clean sweep of this year's majors as Daniil Medvedev scored a sensational victory in the US Open final.

After scooping the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon titles, Djokovic arrived in New York in pursuit of the full set, but a 6-4 6-4 6-4 defeat meant the calendar Grand Slam dream died.

Rod Laver, the last man to achieve that feat in singles, back in 1969, was in the crowd to witness what most anticipated would be a momentous moment in tennis history. Instead, it was momentous for Medvedev, the Russian finally a champion at the highest level.

It means Djokovic remains tied with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on 20 slam titles, the 34-year-old being served notice here that a new generation is rising, headed by world number two Medvedev.

 It was a sizzling afternoon in New York, the temperature taking a leap a day on from Emma Raducanu's triumph in the women's final, and Djokovic was feeling the heat from the early moments.

Medvedev broke in the first game against a nervy and erratic opponent. Djokovic had said before stepping on court that he hoped to bring the "best version of myself" and promised he was "ready for the battle", but he was running on close to empty at times here.

Djokovic had dropped the opening set in the previous four rounds in this US Open run, winning three times in four sets and once in five during that sequence. He came into this match having spent five hours and 35 minutes longer on court than Medvedev, an unusually scenic route through the rounds for the top seed. And those extra miles in his legs showed, Medvedev swiftly a set ahead, sealing the opener with an ace.

Djokovic had won 10 of 10 matches in slams this year after losing the opening set. No man has ever won a slam after losing five first sets in the same tournament, the ATP said. That still holds true.

The Serbian had 0-40 on the Medvedev serve in the second game of the second set, but five points in a row from the man from Moscow felt like a bodyblow, and in the fourth game Djokovic's frustration spilled over, brutally smashing his racket three times against the ground.

Djokovic was landing only 50 per of first serves in court, and when he hit a feeble backhand into the net, Medvedev had two break points. He took the second of those when Djokovic looped a volley long, then held to love to lead 4-2.

On his third set point, Medvedev gave Djokovic a chance to make a passing shot, but the 34-year-old went wide. At two sets up, Medvedev may have had thoughts of Stefanos Tsitsipas losing from such a lead against Djokovic in the Roland Garros final, but this time Djokovic was fried.

He raced out to a double break and a 4-0 lead in the third set, yet double-faulted twice in succession when his first championship point arrived and gave back one of those breaks. Djokovic closed to 5-4, the New York crowd roared and the man who rarely feels loved by tennis crowds began to well up. Medvedev came out to serve again and again served a double on a championship point, but he had another in store and Djokovic netted on the backhand.

For the first time since 1990, when Pete Sampras and Gabriela Sabatini reigned over the rest, the US Open has a pair of first-time grand slam winners as its singles champion, with rookie Raducanu joined by the finished article in Medvedev.

In an extraordinary year for Djokovic, this was a lousy day.

The first time Daniil Medvedev made the US Open final, in 2019, he was just happy to be there, having made his deepest run at a grand slam. 

The Russian will enter Sunday's final at Flushing Meadows with a different mindset after breezing past Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-4 7-5 6-2 in the semi-finals. 

After falling to Rafael Nadal in five sets two years ago in New York and losing to Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open final earlier this year, Medvedev is ready for a grand slam title of his own. 

"The more you lose something, the more you want to win it," Medvedev said after his semi-final win Friday. 

"I lost two finals. I want to win the third one. That's tennis, we have two players, only one going to win. You never know what's going to happen, but I'm going to try more than I did the first two times."

Medvedev has rolled through the draw, dropping only one set on the way to the final – the third to Botic van de Zandschulp in the quarter-finals. 

The world number two hopes the fact that he has not faced any marathon matches during his run to the final will help him Sunday. 

"There were some tight moments. There were some tight battles," he said. "Against Botic I won 7-5 in the fourth, which is not that much of a margin.

"It's never easy, but I'm happy that I managed to save a lot of physical abilities, physical power, and mental power.

"For sure, I mean, I don't think anybody is capable of winning a slam after playing, let's say, first three rounds five sets. I doubt this ever happened. So this is important.

"I'm really happy I managed to make it kind of fast."

Friday's match was no different, as Medvedev's only difficulty came when he fell behind 5-2 in the second set. 

But Auger-Aliassime could not finish the job, with Medvedev reeling off five successive games to end the threat before closing out the Canadian with ease in the third. 

"Many times you're going to lose a break against such an opponent as Felix, he had set points on his serve, you're going to lose a set," Medvedev said. "We can never know now how the match would go. Could be completely different story, being one set all, would be the first time for me in the tournament.

"I'm happy I managed to save this game, doing one great point and second one making him play the volley. Then it turned the match around. I think he started doubting.

"For sure it stayed in his mind, this game, so he started missing. I started putting more pressure. The match turned around. That was the key point."

Daniil Medvedev flicked away the threat of Felix Auger-Aliassime to reach his third grand slam final and second US Open title match.

The Russian was briefly in trouble in the second set, when Auger-Aliassime could not serve it out after establishing a 5-2 lead, but he was otherwise in charge as he nailed a 6-4 7-5 6-2 semi-final win.

It means the man who was beaten by Rafael Nadal in a mesmerising 2019 Flushing Meadows final will be back on Sunday to go after a first title at the majors.

World number two Medvedev looked in good shape here, and it was always going to take a major effort for 12th-seeded Canadian Auger-Aliassime to test him.

That test arrived when Auger-Aliassime led by a break in the second set but could not finish the job.

Medvedev soon levelled the set at 5-5 and Auger-Aliassime coughed up an ugly double fault to give him a look at 0-30 in the next game, before fluffing a volley to present the Russian with three game points.

A forehand into the net moved Medvedev into a 6-5 lead, serving for a two-set cushion, and a fuss-free game moved the Moscow-born 25-year-old one step away from the final.

Auger-Aliassime was looking to follow his fellow Canadian Leylah Fernandez into a US Open final this weekend, yet the failure to seize that one big chance was his undoing.

Playing ahead of the second semi-final between calendar Grand Slam-hunting Novak Djokovic and Olympic champion Alexander Zverev, it was plain sailing in the third set for Medvedev.

He struck a startling forehand winner around the net post late in the contest, demonstrating the sort of class to test the best.

Medvedev described the clash as "a strange match", saying in an on-court interview: "I think everybody thought it was going to be one set all, and you never know where the match is going to go.

"I managed to save the set points: he missed one volley and I won one good point, and the match turned around completely. I don't think I played my best today, but I'm really happy to be in the final."

He quite reasonably described his five-set thriller against Nadal two years ago as "a crazy match".

"If it's going to be a crazy match on Sunday, I just hope I can win this time," he added.


DATA SLAM

Medvedev won a terrific 81 per cent of points when landing his first serve in court, which is match-winning tennis and the sort of form he may need in the final. A three-set drubbing by Djokovic in the Australian Open final at the start of this year was an anti-climax given the match promised so much, and Medvedev won just 69 per cent on first serve in that one-sided match. All the ratios looked good for Medvedev in this match, but he will know the final is a step up. He looks destined to win multiple grand slams, but getting the first one is often the toughest.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Medvedev – 37/25
Auger-Aliassime – 17/39

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Medvedev – 12/4
Auger-Aliassime – 4/10

BREAK POINTS WON

Medvedev – 5/5
Auger-Aliassime – 1/3

Second seed Daniil Medvedev refuses to start thinking about a US Open final against Novak Djokovic despite reaching his third straight semi-final at Flushing Meadows on Tuesday.

Medvedev dropped a set for the first time at this year's US Open but still got through, winning 6-3 6-0 4-6 7-5 over Dutch qualifier Botic van de Zandschulp on Tuesday.

The 25-year-old will play the winner of the quarter-final between Canadian 12th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime and Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz in the last four.

Top seed Djokovic, who has won all three majors this year, looms on the other side of the draw, with a quarter-final match-up on Wednesday against sixth seed Matteo Berrettini, while fourth seed Alexander Zverev is still alive.

"I don't think about him [Djokovic], because as we saw, anybody can beat anybody," Medvedev said at his post-match news conference.

"If he's in the final, and if I'm there, I'm happy. He plays on the days where I don't play so I watch his matches just because I enjoy watching tennis.

"I'm not going to root or cheer for somebody. I'm just gonna enjoy the tennis and then prepare for the winner. It's same every match."

Medvedev's victory clinches his spot in the final four at Flushing Meadows for the third straight year, having lost the 2019 final to Rafael Nadal.

"[I'm] really happy to be in the semis again, third time in a row," Medvedev said. "I couldn't dream of it four years ago, but now it's three."

Medvedev will be several years older than his next opponent, with Auger-Aliassime turning 21 last month and Alcaraz is still only 18.

Neither has ever reached a major semi-final either, while Medvedev will be playing in his fourth, having won two of them previously including at this year's Australian Open.

"I always said that experience helps me," Medvedev said. "You never know, because you're gonna play tough opponents, semis or final.

"Who knows? Maybe Novak. But first of course Felix or Carlos. Whoever wins gonna be on huge fire. You know they are much younger than even me.

"But for them it's going to be a first semis of a slam. Experience is not everything, because, for example, when I was in my first semis of a slam, I won it. Doesn't mean if you're there for the first time you're gonna lose it. But I like that I have this experience."

Daniil Medvedev took the first spot in the men's semi-finals at the US Open as he beat qualifier Botic van de Zandschulp in four sets on Tuesday.

Second seed Medvedev was two sets up with just over an hour played at Arthur Ashe Stadium, yet was ultimately made to work for a 6-3 6-0 4-6 7-5 triumph.

The Russian, a beaten finalist at Flushing Meadows in 2019 and a semi-finalist last year, broke Van de Zandschulp three times in the opening set, which he took at the fourth time of asking as his Dutch opponent offered up the first sign it would not be an easy day for the favourite.

Medvedev wrapped up a second set bagel with ease, though Van de Zandschulp – who beat in-form world number 11 Casper Ruud en route to the quarters – found some resolve in the third.

Unforced errors from the world number two handed Van de Zandschulp hope and the 25-year-old stuck 91 per cent of his first-serve points to take advantage.

Medvedev's wobble was short lived, however, with his composure regaining as he held his serve in what proved to be the final set.

A match point went begging as Medvedev missed the chance to break, but victory was assured on Van de Zandschulp's next serve, with a drop shot nestling into the net.

Next up for Medvedev is Felix Auger-Aliassime or Carlos Alcaraz, with the latter the youngest men's quarter-finalist at the US Open in the Open Era.

Data Slam: Medvedev's serve too strong

Medvedev won a whopping 83 per cent of his first serve points, converting 54 of 65, and finished with 13 aces. "I'm really happy with my serve in the fourth set, and to get through without a tie-break," he said. Indeed, in the final set, the 25-year-old's first serve percentage was up at 85. 

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Van de Zandschulp – 36/35
Medvedev – 36/24

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Van de Zandschulp – 4/4
Medvedev – 13/1

BREAK POINTS WON

Van de Zandschulp – 2/5
Medvedev – 7/12

Daniil Medvedev said "it's tough to beat me" as the confident and in-form world number two took another step towards his maiden grand slam crown at the US Open.

Medvedev advanced to the quarter-finals with a comfortable 6-3 6-4 6-3 victory over 24th seed Dan Evans in New York on Sunday.

US Open finalist in 2019 and Australian Open runner-up this year, Russian star Medvedev is yet to drop a set at Flushing Meadows this week.

As Dutch qualifier Botic Van De Zandschulp awaits, Medvedev discussed expectations at the US Open in pursuit of his first major title.

"I always say I take it match by match," Medvedev told reporters after hitting 42 winners in one hour, 43 minutes. "You can lose first round, you can lose final. If I play good, I know what I'm capable of. It's tough to beat me.

"In Wimbledon, I was honest, I lost against a great player, Hubert is playing great. I think he's on the rise. He's going to be even better ranked and maybe he's gonna go further in slams. He beat Roger [Federer] after me.

"But again, I was not talking about match itself where the loss was okay, I would say. I was talking about the result in general, and fourth round is not enough for number two in the world, especially I like grass more than clay, so maybe on clay I would not say this.

"Yeah, it's the same every tournament. If you're top seed, if you are not in the final, let's say Cincinnati, I lost against Rublev, brutal match, really strong play from him. But if you talk about the result itself, semi-final was not good enough.

"There is not much to add. I want to win every tournament I play in, without putting pressure on myself. Because again, I know how to win matches, and I know sometimes why I lose them, so that's just learning and being better for the next time."

Medvedev is 31-5 on hard courts in 2021 and 162-61 in his career, while he has won 11 of his 12 ATP titles on hard courts.

The 25-year-old owns a 17-4 record (80.95 per cent) at the US Open – his most wins and highest win percentage at a grand slam event.

"Feeling great before the second week," Medvedev said. "Feeling great with my tennis, my mental, my physical. Just looking forward."

Medvedev, who lost a thrilling US Open final to Rafael Nadal two years ago, added: "Now I just want to make it to the finals again to have another thing to remember and hopefully a better one."

Men's tennis would be a safe environment for any gay player ready to announce their sexuality, three of the brightest young talents in the game have said.

Speaking on the US Open's first Pride Day, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Daniil Medvedev and Felix Auger-Aliassime said players should not fear coming out.

A number of the best-known women's players of all time have been lesbian, including Martina Navratilova, Billie Jean King and Amelie Mauresmo.

However, there have been few modern-era 'out' gay stars on the men's ATP Tour, with Navratilova having said in the past that those that exist have been "so far in the closet I don't know who they are".

Russian world number two Medvedev said: "From my side, I think everybody would be super open if somebody would come out on the ATP Tour.

"The other question is: are there any gays on the ATP Tour? Again, until somebody comes out, you cannot know unless you're his best friend and you know what he goes through.

"I think it's great from the US Open, this initiative. I think the ATP honestly is doing a good job, also especially internally trying to provide info and to just make sure that if anybody wants to come out, he's gonna feel safe and secure.

"All the players would be happy for the guy if he does it."

 

Canadian rising star Auger-Aliassime, who like Medvedev and Tsitsipas has reached round three at Flushing Meadows, explained it was important for the tour to let players be themselves.

On the women's tour, Belgian players Alison van Uytvanck and Greet Minnen are engaged, while there are a number of other players from the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning) community.

But the men's tour in recent years has seen no such prominently out players, which world number 15 Auger-Aliassime finds surprising, given the high number of professionals.

"Recently I've started doing a survey inside the ATP about the LGBTQ+ community," Auger-Aliassime said.

"It's important these days to be aware of that and to be open-minded and the ATP needs to do that, in today's time it's needed.

"The reason we don't have openly gay players on the ATP Tour, I'm not sure of the reason, but I feel me, as a player, it would be very open, very welcome. Statistically there should be some, but for now there's not."

Tsitsipas was asked whether the tour would be a "safe space" now, for any player considering coming out.

"I think so. They would be supported, for sure," said the Greek world number three, speaking on Wednesday's Pride Day in New York.

"I don't know how it is in other sports. I see no reason, for example, a tour like the ATP not to accept something like this."

Andrey Rublev finally got the better of compatriot Daniil Medvedev after a flashpoint involving a courtside camera in the Western and Southern Open semi-finals.

Rublev will now face Alexander Zverev in the decider, having ended Medvedev's bid for a Toronto-Cincinnati double.

Medvedev had never even dropped a set to his fellow Russian in four prior ATP Tour meetings and appeared to be on course for another dominant victory when he took the first set.

But the world number two clattered into a camera early in the second and all momentum was soon lost.

Medvedev complained about the positioning of the camera, claiming it had caused a hand injury and aiming a kick at the lens.

He swiftly called for treatment as his performance started to fall well below his lofty standards, with Rublev finally able to win a set after breaking in an epic 15-minute game.

A series of unforced Medvedev errors allowed Rublev to break again in the decider and seal a stunning 2-6 6-3 6-3 triumph.

Third seed Zverev fought back from a double break down in the final set to progress to the final with a 6-4 3-6 7-6 (7-4) win over second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas.

The epic match lasted two hours and 41 minutes, with Zverev responding strongly after appearing unwell to book his spot in the final against Rublev.

Rublev gets his Daniil degree

Asked to reflect on finally toppling Medvedev, Rublev told Amazon: "It's always tough to play against Daniil and to beat him.

"I think it gives me a bit more confidence that I can play against him, I can compete against him. There are still so many things to improve, but it's like I've passed university."

The victory came as a relief, with Rublev believing he was unfortunate even to be trailing in the first set.

"Inside I was thinking, when I was 6-2, the score shouldn't be like this," he said.

"The points were really tight, some little outs, little mistakes, some good shots from Daniil. The score was not real [in] the first set.

"Even the third set, I won 6-3 but the match was so intense. You saw so many rallies, so many long rallies, and it was so tough.

"It was a super mental match, a super physical match, exactly like a chess match."

Zverev's Novak mentality

Tokyo 2020 gold medalist Zverev had trailed 4-1 in the third set against Tsitsipas, but fought back with two breaks before winning in a tie-break.

"After I did the first break back I thought 'OK I have the chances'," Zverev said during his on-court interview. "I felt like he was not serving bombs. I felt like I was always in the rallies but I was losing the rallies because I was a bit low energy, so I started being a bit more aggressive, a bit of the Novak mentality that I had against him at the Olympics as well."

Zverev has a 4-0 record against final opponent Rublev but he was wary of his opponent.

"Favourite or not, I think if you're in the final, there's no easy opponent," he said. "Today he played incredible beating Medvedev."

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