Alexander Zverev rued a missed opportunity to win the Indian Wells Masters as he crashed out in the quarter-finals at the hands of home favourite Taylor Fritz.

American Fritz saved two match points to pull off an upset 4-6 6-4 7-6 (7-3) win over Olympic gold medallist Zverev.

Third seed Zverev was aware he had become hot favourite to triumph in California after Stefanos Tsitsipas crashed out to Nikoloz Basilashvili earlier on Friday, with US Open champion Daniil Medvedev already eliminated.

And the German was frustrated with his performance against Fritz, which left him unable to add to the Masters 1000 titles he has already won in Madrid and Cincinnati this year.

"It was just not really my day, to be honest," said Zverev, who had beaten Jenson Brooksby, Andy Murray and Gael Monfils to reach the last eight.

"I was close to winning, but the level of tennis was just not there for me.

"Mentally this is not easy for me. My next tournament is Vienna, so hoping I can deal with it well there, but right now I just want to go home.

"It was a very long season and I have played well but this one hurts because I knew that, after Stefanos lost this morning, I was kind of the favourite to win this tournament, but my tennis wasn't there yet."

Zverev had won 20 of his previous 21 matches on hard courts and led 5-2 in the deciding set.

But Fritz was not to be denied, firing 36 winners to secure the second top-five win of his career, with this triumph adding to impressive victories over Italian duo Matteo Berrettini and Jannik Sinner this week.

Fritz said: "This is the farthest I've ever been in a big tournament. 

"It is easily the best win of my life, against a really tough opponent on arguably the biggest match I could possibly play, so it's great.

"The biggest thing was match point down, I wanted to make him serve it out, so I just fought as hard as I could to hold that game.

"Then I got fortunate in his service game and from there I felt in control and felt really good under the pressure. I kept fighting. The crowd pushing me on meant so much.

"It is amazing. Especially the way that match ended with such high emotions with the crowd. The crowd was amazing and it is a dream come true."

Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev both crashed out in the quarter-finals on a day of upsets at the Indian Wells Masters.

Tsitsipas – the second seed – suffered a shock defeat to Nikoloz Basilashvili in a memorable outing for the Georgian in the Californian desert on Friday.

Afterwards, third seed Zverev was upstaged by Taylor Fritz in another boilover at the ATP Masters 1000 tournament.

 

BASILASHVILI BANISHES STEFANOS FOR MAIDEN MASTERS SF

In the biggest win of his career, 29th seed Basilashvili conquered French Open runner-up Tsitsipas 6-4 2-6 6-4.

Basilashvili's powerful groundstrokes from the baseline troubled Tsitsipas throughout as he reached his first Masters 1000 semi-final.

Prior to this year, Basilashvili had never won a main-draw match at Indian Wells in four previous appearances.

"I have played really great matches this tournament," said Basilashvili, who is the first Georgian in a Masters 1000 semi-final since Irakli Labadze in 2004. "I was not that happy with how I played today but I was happy with how I managed my stress levels.

"First time in the quarter-finals and it is a big court and Stefanos is a super tough player. I had to keep my physical levels and energy levels in a really good shape because I knew mentally I would be a little bit tight and stressed."

 

FRITZ SAVES MATCH POINTS TO UPSET ZVEREV

Next up for Basilashvili is 31st seed Fritz, who fended off two match points to surprise Olympic Games gold medallist Zverev 4-6 6-4 7-6 (7-3).

Fritz dropped the opening set and rallied from 5-2 down in the decider as he earned his second top-five victory of his career en route to his first Masters 1000 semi-final.

"I was really down and out but I found a way to put myself into it," Fritz said in his on-court interview. "I really wanted to make him have to close me out and I was able to get back into the match.

"Normally you would be so nervous in those situations and in the third set tie-break, but I felt so confident being aggressive, going after my game. It feels really great to play well with the pressure on."

It is the second Masters 1000 tournament of the season to feature three players in their first semi-final – Basilashvili, Fritz and Cameron Norrie – after the Miami Open.

Daniil Medvedev was ousted from the Indian Wells Masters, the US Open champion and top seed stunned by former world number three Grigor Dimitrov in a thrilling comeback.

Dimitrov had been a set and a double break down against the Russian star on Wednesday, before launching a remarkable rally for his first win over a top-two opponent since 2016.

Meanwhile, second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas and third seed Alexander Zverev both won to secure their spots in the last eight.

 

MEDVEDEV SHOCKED IN THE DESERT

Dimitrov roared back to triumph 4-6 6-4 6-3 over Medvedev, who had won 18 of his past 19 matches on North American soil.

Bulgarian star Dimitrov trailed 4-1 in the second set after dropping the opener before stunning the first-time grand slam champion midweek.

"I just felt something at 1-4 and I calmed myself down and started to take better decisions and started to control the pace of the game, which I really believed helped me," Dimitrov – the 23rd seed – said. "In the end it was just very solid and smart play."

Dimitrov finished the match with 25 winners, while he was also excellent at the net, helping him claim his first quarter-final appearance at an ATP Masters 1000 event this season.

Medvedev sent down 5-1 aces but only managed a 54 per cent first-serve percentage, while he also faced 10 break points across the match. Dimitrov won five games in a row to claim the second set.

"I don't remember myself losing three service games, even four service games ever, I guess, on hard courts," Medvedev said.

"That shows how slow this court is and the conditions, more like clay, I would say, which I don't like, because to lose serve four times is just unacceptable."

Dimitrov will face eighth seed Hubert Hurkacz in the quarter-finals after he got past Australian Open semi-finalist Aslan Karatsev 6-1 6-3.

Medvedev added: "Grigor played [the] second part of the match better than anybody did against me [at the] US Open that I won. Playing this level, I don't see him losing to anybody, but let's see the result."

 

ZVEREV MAKES STATEMENT WITH MONFILS WIN

Olympic Games gold medallist Zverev bulldozed his way past 14th seed Gael Monfils 6-1-6-3 en route to the last eight.

German star Zverev claimed his 20th win from his last 21 matches, needing just over an hour to dispatch Monfils.

Zverev claimed 19 of 25 points at the net, hitting 19 winners including 11 with his forehand, while converting four of eight break points.

"I felt well on the court today. Gael is someone I haven't beaten before, so I knew had to play my best tennis and I definitely was not far away," Zverev said during his on-court interview.

Zverev will take on American 31st seed Taylor Fritz, who defeated 10th seed Jannik Sinner 6-4 6-3.

 

TSITSIPAS OUTLASTS DE MINAUR

French Open runner-up Tsitsipas saw off a tough challenge from Australian Alex de Minaur to secure his spot in the quarter-finals 6-7 (3-7) 7-6 (7-3) 6-2.

Tsitsipas fought back from a set down to win against the 22nd seed, triumphing in two hours, 43 minutes.

Greek star Tsitsipas showed grit to outlast the tiring De Minaur and will face 29th seed Nikoloz Basilashvili after he knocked off fellow seed Karen Khachanov 6-4 7-6 (8-6).

"That was incredible the way I just stayed in the match," Tsitsipas said. "I had to go through so many difficulties in order to find a solution and I executed towards the end of the match."

There were further top-10 casualties, with sixth seed Casper Ruud also bowing out 6-3 6-3 to 11th seed Diego Schwartzman, who will meet Cameron Norrie in the quarters.

Andy Murray has called for more players to get vaccinated against COVID-19 ahead of the Australian Open next year.

Unvaccinated players are expected to be allowed to compete, but are likely to have restrictions imposed on them in Melbourne.

The 34-year-old voiced his support for such restrictions, explaining that he understands why they would be put in place.

"My understanding is if you're unvaccinated you're still allowed to play, it's just the rules are going to be different," Murray said.

"You might just have to leave [for Australia] a few weeks earlier than everyone else. That's the player's choice. If the local government puts that in place then I would support that.

"It would be great if more players got vaccinated. Australia, in particular, has been very, very strict over there. The public there have had to endure a painful 18 months or whatever.

"If people are going to come into the country and potentially risk an outbreak in their community, yeah, that's understandable."

Murray was beaten in the Indian Wells third round by Alexander Zverev, who admitted he had not been vaccinated in April, on October 12 and the German declined to take a side in the debate.

"I fully respect the decisions of players that are not vaccinated," Zverev said. "I also do respect the decision that the Australian government is giving.

"I don't want to be in the middle of something which I kind of am not involved in because I don't have that issue of the two-week quarantine, all that. I don't want to go against anybody here."

Andy Murray is looking to give his body time to recover before the end of 2021 after going down to a narrow defeat against Alexander Zverev at the Indian Wells Masters.

Third seed Zverev triumphed 6-4 7-6 (7-4) in a hard-fought third-round battle with Murray on Tuesday.

Three-time grand slam winner Murray had previously defeated Adrian Mannarino and rising star Carlos Alcaraz in California.

He then ran Zverev close, with the German saying afterwards he felt Murray had produced his best performance since returning from hip surgery.

Murray agreed there were positives to take from his run, but was again frustrated not to get a statement win, having also fallen in five sets to Stefanos Tsitsipas at the US Open.

The Briton may play ATP Tour events in Antwerp and Vienna over the next fortnight but is soon eyeing a break that means he will not be putting himself forward for the Davis Cup Finals, which take place over 10 days from the end of November.

Recovering some freshness and spending time with his family are on Murray's agenda ahead of the Australian Open early in 2022.

"I've given a lot to the Davis Cup, and sometimes to my own detriment physically," Murray told BBC Sport after the loss to Zverev.

"The same thing happened last time I played Davis Cup at the end of 2019. I know there was coronavirus, but I was struggling with that really up until September time the following year.

"I also don't feel right now I would be playing, either. Obviously that would be up to [Team GB captain] Leon [Smith], but I'm not sure I deserve to play in that team.

"Right now, I'm not planning on playing the Davis Cup and with the late finish to it, and early departure to Australia, with my schedule between now and the end of the year, I am going to have to rest and take a break and give my body a chance to breathe.

"And I want to make sure in the offseason I get to spend as much time with my family as I can because I have been away from that recently and that will be case when I go to Australia as well."

On the defeat to Zverev, Murray said: "The positive for me to take from it is I had opportunities again.

"I didn't feel like I played a great match and still had chances, so that's positive. But I'm disappointed because I want to be winning these matches. I haven't in the past few months."

Both players forced six break points each and fired down eight aces apiece in an even contest.

Murray broke Zverev three times across the two sets and led in each of them, but ultimately it was the world number four who progressed to book a tie with Gael Monfils in the last 16.

It was the first time Zverev had beaten Murray in three attempts and he has now triumphed against each of the Big Four, with previous wins over Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer to his name.

Alexander Zverev overcame former world number one Andy Murray to reach the Indian Wells Masters last 16 as Stefanos Tsitsipas also progressed, but Matteo Berrettini lost.

Olympic Gamed gold medallist and third seed Zverev fell behind a break in both sets but battled past Murray in straight sets at the ATP Masters 1000 tournament on Tuesday.

Tsitsipas – the second seed – rallied from a set down to vanquish Fabio Fognini in the desert, while fifth seed Berrettini was a third-round casualty.

 

ZVEREV CLAIMS COVETED SCALP OF MURRAY

Having already defeated Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer in his career, all that was missing for Zverev was a win over Murray to complete the 'Big Four' sweep.

Zverev added Murray to his list of scalps with a 6-4 7-6 (7-4) victory to reach the Indian Wells fourth round for the first time since 2016.

The German star has now won 19 of his last 20 matches since Wimbledon.

"He's the only one of the Big Four that I hadn't beaten yet, so I'm happy that I've done it today," said Zverev, who will clash with 14th seed Gael Monfils in the next round. "Obviously it was a fantastic match.

"I thought Andy played extremely well, maybe as well as he's played since the surgery. I hope he continues playing the same way, because tennis did miss him for a long time and I think it's good to have him back."

 

TSITSIPAS FIGHTS BACK

It was far from easy for Greek star Tsitsipas, who prevailed 2-6 6-3 6-4 against 25th seed Fabio Fognini.

Tsitsipas added to his ATP Tour-leading haul of match wins this season, which now stands at 53 after Fognini had been looking to score his first victory over the French Open runner-up.

Alex de Minaur – the 22nd seed – awaits after he took down 13th seed Cristian Garin 6-4 6-2 for his first trip to the Indian Wells last 16.

 

BERRETTINI BUNDLED OUT

Wimbledon finalist Berrettini was no match for Taylor Fritz, who surprisingly topped the Italian 6-4 6-3.

Berrettini entered the contest as the only player on the ATP Tour this season to register double-digit wins on three surfaces – 15-4 (hard), 13-4 (clay) and 11-1 (grass).

"We're coming to the end of the year, I could really use a big result," said Fritz after claiming his first top-10 win of the year. "This is just what I needed, playing one of my favourite tournaments close to home."

Andy Murray put his body to the test as the former world number one overcame teenage sensation Carlos Alcaraz at the Indian Wells Masters, where stars Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev advanced to the third round.

Murray needed more than three hours to see off 18-year-old talent Alcaraz, who announced himself on the big stage with a quarter-final run at the US Open.

An Indian Wells runner-up in 2009, Murray was joined in the next round by second seed Tsitsipas and third seed Zverev on Sunday.

 

MURRAY WINS BATTLE OF GENERATIONS

Injuries have struck down Murray in recent years, but the three-time grand slam champion showed there is still plenty of fight left in the tank after rallying past debutant Alcaraz 5-7 6-3 6-2.

Facing a player 16 years his junior, Murray – making his 13th Indian Wells appearance – reached the third round of an ATP Masters 1000 event for the first time since 2016.

The 34-year-old Murray, who hit an underarm ace, improved his record to 27-12 in the desert following three hours, four minutes on court.

"He's obviously got so much potential, so much firepower and these conditions it's not easy to finish points off quickly, but he's able to because he has so much pace from the back of the court so I had to fight extremely hard, coming back from a set down," said Murray, who will next meet Zverev. 

"I felt like in the second set he played maybe better. First set I felt like I had more of the opportunities but didn't get it so yeah, happy with the way I fought. He's a top-drawer young player."

 

ZVEREV QUALIFIES FOR TURIN AS TSITSIPAS CRUISES

US Open finalist and Olympic gold medallist Zverev outlasted talented American Jenson Brooksby 6-4 3-6 6-1 to set up a showdown with Murray.

World number four Zverev ended the contest with 12 aces and 28 winners, having qualified for next month's ATP Finals in Turin thanks to the German's four tour-level titles in 2021.

"It wasn't an easy match, but I'm happy to be through, I'm happy to be in the third round and playing Andy now," said Zverev, who has won 18 of his last 19 matches since Wimbledon. "I think he's the only one of the 'Big Four' [including Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer] I haven't beaten yet, so I hope I can change that. I think it's incredible how well he's moving and incredible how well he's playing. I think he's very motivated so I hope I can show my best tennis."

It was far more routine for Greek star Tsitsipas, who eased past Pedro Martinez 6-2 6-4 in his tournament opener.

Tsitsipas needed just 93 minutes to take down his opponent for his Tour-leading 52nd win of the season as the French Open runner-up awaits 25th seed Fabio Fognini for a place in the fourth round.

 

BERRETTINI ROLLS ON AS AUGER-ALIASSIME SAYS GOODBYE

Italian fifth seed Matteo Berrettini won through to the third round via a 6-4 7-5 success against qualifier Alejandro Tabilo – his first Indian Wells win following two previous appearances.

Felix Auger-Aliassime was the biggest name to depart the event on Sunday, with the seventh seed and Flushing Meadows semi-finalist going down 6-4 6-2 to Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

Jannik Sinner, Pablo Carreno Busta, Cristian Garin and Gael Monfils were among the seeds to progress.

Domestic abuse allegations made against Alexander Zverev are being investigated by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP), the governing body has confirmed.

Zverev's former partner Olga Sharypova alleged in an interview last year that the German physically and emotionally abused her during a tournament in Shanghai in 2019.

World number four Zverev has strenuously denied the allegations.

After commissioning an Independent Safeguarding Report earlier this year, with the aim of ensuring all adults and minors involved in professional tennis are safe and protected from abuse, the ATP is now looking into the claims made by Sharypova.

A statement on Monday read: "The ATP fully condemns any form of violence or abuse and will investigate such allegations related to conduct at an ATP member tournament."

ATP chief executive Massimo Calvelli added: "The allegations raised against Alexander Zverev are serious and we have a responsibility to address them. 

"We hope our investigation will allow us to establish the facts and determine appropriate follow-up action. 

"We understand Zverev welcomes our investigation and acknowledge that he has denied all allegations. 

"We will also be monitoring any further legal developments following the preliminary injunction obtained by Zverev in the German Courts."

John McEnroe promised Team World would bounce back after suffering a 14-1 thrashing by Team Europe at the Laver Cup in Boston.

Europe wrapped up a fourth consecutive Laver Cup triumph as Andrey Rublev and Alexander Zverev capped off a dominant performance.

Having won all four matches on Saturday, Europe needed just one more victory to again retain the trophy, preserving their record of having won each edition of the tournament.

That duly arrived as Rublev and Zverev prevailed against Reilly Opelka and Denis Shapovalov in their doubles clash.

They emerged 6-2 6-7 (4-7) 10-3 victors, to spark European celebrations.

Next year's match will be played in London, and Team World captain McEnroe said: "No one wins the Laver Cup, beats us, John McEnroe, five times in a row. You've got to keep going.

"Team Europe is a great team, no question, incredible team. They had good team spirit. We did, as well."

McEnroe, quoted on the Laver Cup website, added: "If you get a couple of different results, we could have put more pressure on them. But we just came up short in four tiebreakers. You win half those, it's totally different story. We gave it our best, but they were just too good."

Zverev reflected on Europe's win, saying: "The score says that it was 14-1, but it could have gone both ways a lot of the time.

"We [did] a lot of hard work for this victory throughout the whole week. The group of this team has been absolutely amazing.

"I think a lot of us came a lot closer together and to be honest I can't wait for London next year."

Team Europe are poised to seal yet more Laver Cup glory after producing another dominant display against Team World, though the focus was on Nick Kyrgios following comments about his long-term future.

Europe swept Saturday's four matches in Boston to stand on the cusp of a fourth consecutive Laver Cup triumph – the defending champions lead 11-1 and require just two more points to clinch the title.

Stefanos Tsitsipas blitzed Team World's Kyrgios 6-3 6-4 at TD Garden, where Olympic Games gold medallist Alexander Zverev beat John Isner 7-6 (7-5) 6-7 (6-8) 10-5 before US Open champion Daniil Medvedev made light work of Denis Shapovalov 6-4 6-0.

Team Europe secured their fourth win of the day in the doubles – Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev teaming up to defeat Isner and Kyrgios 6-7 (8-10) 6-3 10-4.

After Kyrgios' straight-sets loss to Greece's Tsitsipas, the 26-year-old Australian star casted doubt over his tennis future.

"This is my probably my last Laver Cup," former world number 13 Kyrgios – an Australian Open and Wimbledon quarter-finalist – told reporters post-match. "I don't know how much longer I will be in tennis.

"This is my last event of the year. I will get my body right ahead of the Australian Open.

"My mum is not doing too well with her health. I'd like to go back and see her."

"As long as I'm on the court, I will try and give my best, but I'm not going to lie and say that I'm going to plan to play four or five more years on tour," Kyrgios said. "That's just not me."

Playing for the first time since earning his maiden grand slam trophy at the expense of record-chasing Novak Djokovic at Flushing Meadows, world number two Medvedev suffered no letdown against Shapovalov.

"I played unbelievably, especially [in] the second set," Russia's Medvedev said in his on-court interview. "I didn't know what to expect because after the US Open, I didn't play for a week and a half. Came here, practised as much as I could the past three days, so I didn't hit [that] many balls, but was surprisingly feeling well.

"I wanted to show that also today. [The] first [set] was not easy, the ball was not going as fast as I wanted [and] he was playing really good. And then I just couldn't miss a ball anymore. I'm really happy about [that]."

Team Europe are on track for their fourth consecutive Laver Cup triumph after earning an early 3-1 lead against Team World.

Opening-day honours went to Bjorn Borg's Team Europe at TD Garden in Boston, where the defending champions moved into the box seat thanks to wins for Andrey Rublev, Matteo Berrettini and Casper Ruud in the singles on Friday.

John Isner and Denis Shapovalov managed to get Team World on the board in the evening's final doubles match against Alexander Zverev and Berrettini 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 10-1.

Roger Federer and Rod Laver were in the crowd as Team Europe – headlined by newly crowned US Open champion Daniil Medvedev and consisting of six of the world's top 10 – made a strong start courtesy of Norwegian Ruud, who overcame Reilly Opelka 6-3 7-6 (7-4), improving his career record to 3-0 against the towering American, and beating him in straight sets for the first time.

Italian star Berrettini then overcame Team World's Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-7 (3-7) 7-5 10-8 in the competition's longest match at two hours, 52 minutes.

Berrettini escaped with the second set after facing two break points in the penultimate game before prevailing against the Canadian in a thrilling match tie-break.

"One of the best matches bar none that I've ever seen played, absolutely just enthralling," said captain John McEnroe, whose Team World are eyeing their first Laver Cup trophy.

Rublev rallied past Argentina's Diego Schwartzman, who won the opening set and led 6-2 and 8-5 in the match tie-break before losing 4-6 6-3 11-9.

"Today we are a bit more lucky; Matteo won a tough match against Felix in a super tiebreak, now you saw my match," said Russian star Rublev.

"It was so close; Diego was leading all the super tiebreak, but in the end I find a way to win.

"This happens. This is tennis, this is sport. It’s emotions. Someone has to win, someone has to lose."

On day two, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Zverev headline the day session against Team World's Nick Kyrgios and Isner.

In the evening, Medvedev will meet Shapovalov before Rublev and Tsitsipas team up for a doubles battle with Kyrgios and Isner.

Novak Djokovic is well aware of the history he is poised to make in Sunday's US Open final, and he is not shying away from it. 

After his 4-6 6-2 6-4 4-6 6-2 defeat of Alexander Zverev in the semi-finals Friday, a win in the final against Daniil Medvedev would make Djokovic the first player since Rod Laver in 1969 to win all four majors in the same year.

It would also give him a record 21st grand slam title, breaking the mark he shares with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. 

Two astonishing achievements, neither of which is complete just yet, as Djokovic reminded observers by invoking a famous Kobe Bryant line. 

"Job is not done," Djokovic said. "Excitement is there. Motivation is there, without a doubt. Probably more than ever. But I have one more to go."

Djokovic did cross one statistical milestone off the list with Friday's win. He has now reached his 31st grand slam final, equalling Roger Federer's record. 

Since falling to Kei Nishikori in the last four at the 2014 US Open, Djokovic is 17-1 in grand slam semis. 

Zverev lauded Djokovic for his mental toughness as the world number one improved to 36-10 in five-set matches, but the top seed said he still has to fight himself to stay in control in high-pressure situations. 

"It's kind of a hurricane, a tornado, of emotions that you're going through in a sequence of one set or even one point," Djokovic said. "You are by yourself on the court, so there is no escape.

"You've got to find a way. And I think, over the years, I have managed to develop a formula that works for me. ...

"Tennis is a very beautiful sport but a very demanding sport and you've got to have mind and body balanced at all times if you want to compete at the highest level for the biggest trophies."

Few can match him on that stage and he will attempt to reach even greater heights with a win Sunday. 

His opponent, the second-seeded Medvedev, has dropped only one set on the way to the final. 

Djokovic beat him in straight sets in January to win the Australian Open and deny the 25-year-old Russian his first grand slam title. 

History will be on the line Sunday at Arthur Ashe Stadium, and Djokovic is embracing it. 

"There's only one match left. ... Let's do it,'' he said. "I'm going to put my heart and my soul and my body and my head into that one. I'm going to treat the next match like it is the last match of my career.''

To hear Alexander Zverev tell it, he would have needed to be perfect to beat Novak Djokovic in the US Open semi-finals. 

In the end, a wobbly beginning to the fifth set proved the German's undoing in a 4-6 6-2 6-4 4-6 6-2 defeat Friday simply because Djokovic was at his best when it mattered most. 

Combine that enduring quality with the Serbian's incredible statistical record, said Zverev, and you have the greatest player of all time.

Djokovic will have a chance to solidify that case Sunday when he faces Daniil Medvedev for the title. 

A victory would make the 34-year-old the first player since Rod Laver in 1969 to win all four majors in the same year and give him a record 21st grand slam title, breaking the mark he shares with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. 

"I think it's great for the sport," Zverev said after his loss. "Nobody thought anybody will do it again, what Rod Laver did. To see ]Djokovic] have the chance on Sunday, I do believe that he will do it is great. He's breaking every single record that there is.

"If you look at the stats, if you look the pure game of tennis action, he's the greatest of all time.

"Nobody is there with him, because most weeks world number one, most Masters 1000s 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?"

Zverev certainly tried Friday, becoming the first player to push Djokovic to a fifth set since Stefanos Tsitsipas in the French Open final. 

"I fought back," he said. "I left it all out there. ... I mean, the match could have gone both ways, but it went his way. Very often it does."

On this night, Zverev said, it was largely Djokovic's serve on big points that boosted the top seed. 

Whatever shots happened to be working better than others for Djokovic, though, one factor stood above the rest, as it usually does for him at grand slams. 

"I think mentally he's the best player to ever play the game," Zverev said. "Mentally, in the most important moments, I would rather play against anybody else but him."

Novak Djokovic is one win away from becoming the first man to complete a Grand Slam in 52 years. 

The world number one fought back to defeat Alexander Zverev 4-6 6-2 6-4 4-6 6-2 Friday in the US Open semi-finals to put himself on the brink of history. 

Djokovic will face second seed Daniil Medvedev in Sunday's final as he attempts to win a record 21st grand slam title and become the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win all four majors in a calendar year. 

Laver was in attendance at Arthur Ashe Stadium to watch the top seed exert his will as he has done in so many five-setters over the years, breaking down the younger player over the course of the match to emerge with yet another triumph. 

Zverev had ended Djokovic's chances of a Golden Slam with a semi-final win at the Tokyo Olympics, rallying for a three-set win after dropping the opening set, but the script was different Friday. 

It started with Djokovic losing the opening set for the fourth successive match in New York. In the previous three rounds, he did not drop more than three games in any subsequent set, but Zverev made him work harder this time. 

With the first set even at 4-4, Djokovic fell behind 15-40 and double faulted on break point to give Zverev the opening he needed. Though his next service game was a bit shaky, Zverev managed to take the set when Djokovic mis-hit a forehand.

The German's momentum did not last, though, as he returned the favour by double faulting on break point in his first service game of the second set and watched Djokovic level the match with relative ease. 

Zverev had a chance to take control early in the third, earning two break points at 2-2, but he failed to convert and did not get another chance. When Djokovic had a similar opportunity up 5-4, though, he closed it out.

Down 0-40 in that game, Zverev saved two break points – the latter via an epic 53-shot rally that was the longest at this year's US Open – but Djokovic slammed home an overhead winner on the next point to take the set. 

Zverev shook off that disappointment and put the pressure back on Djokovic by hammering a forehand winner down the line to break the top seed and take a 2-1 lead in the fourth.

The German did not falter the rest of the set, eventually serving it out to force a decider and push Djokovic to a fifth set for the first time since the French Open final against Stefanos Tsitsipas. 

Djokovic jumped to an early lead in the fifth, forcing Zverev to the net on break point in the second game with a beautiful drop shot before finishing the younger player off with a cross-court winner. 

Djokovic reeled off four consecutive points to break Zverev in his next service game, then held at love to put the fourth seed on the brink at 5-0. 

Zverev, a winner in seven of his previous eight five-setters, did not surrender, breaking Djokovic thanks to a double fault on game point to pull within 5-2. 

But Djokovic ended it there, breaking back to close out the match in the next game as Zverev sent a forehand into the net from the baseline.

DATA SLAM

With the victory, Djokovic improved to 34-2 in night matches at Arthur Ashe Stadium and 36-10 in five-set matches in his career, winning his last seven in a row. 

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Djokovic – 41/49
Zverev – 49/50

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Djokovic – 12/2
Zverev – 16/8

BREAK POINTS WON

Djokovic – 5/8
Zverev – 3/12

Novak Djokovic knows he faces a tough challenge in his US Open semi-final with Alexander Zverev after coming from a set down to beat Matteo Berrettini.

The Serbian triumphed 5-7 6-2 6-2 6-3 to thwart Berrettini's revenge mission, having defeated the Italian in this year's Wimbledon final.

The world number one now faces the man who denied him a shot at the Golden Slam, with Zverev dumping Djokovic out of the semi-finals at Tokyo 2020.

And the 20-time grand slam winner was full of praise for his next opponent.

"He's in tremendous form, he's been winning a lot," said Djokovic, who still has the Calendar Grand Slam in his sights. "He has comfortably moved to the semi-finals here.

"I know his game well, we played in Tokyo. He's one of the best players in the world, but the bigger the challenge the more glory in overcoming it."

Reflecting on his victory over Berrettini, Djokovic felt he found his best form after dropping the opening set.

"This was a great match, with a lot of energy on and off the court," he said. 

"Matteo is a terrific player and every time we face each other it's a close battle.

"When I lost the first set, I managed to forget about it and move on. I was locked in at the start of the second and it was the best three sets I've played so far."

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