After an epic night of semi-finals in the women’s draw in the US Open on Thursday evening, it is the turn of the men’s semis on Friday night with two mouth-watering clashes awaiting us inside the Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York.
We saw shocks in both the women’s semi-finals which will give encouragement to the lower ranked players on show on Friday as they take on the top two seeds for a place in Sunday’s final of the last Grand Slam of the season.
Felix Auger-Aliassime vs Daniil Medvedev
The opening semi-final is a real clash of experience as the Canadian youngster Felix Auger-Aliassime, competing at this stage of a Grand Slam for the first time, takes on the number two seed Daniil Medvedev who is in the last four of this tournament for the third successive year.
In their own way both these men have been impressive in their path through to this semi-final. Auger-Aliassime has been on court longer but he has seen off the stern challenge of Roberto Bautista Agut who never gives a player anything, as well as the physically demanding test of Frances Tiafoe. His serving has been pinpoint and he is getting a lot of pep on his groundstrokes. Medvedev has breezed into this semi-final. The only set he has dropped was in the quarter final when he got sloppy at two sets up to Botic van de Zandschulp but the flip side of that this will be the first time in the fortnight that Medvedev has played anyone in the top 20 in the world. That might present an issue and although the Russian has looked supreme so far he hasn’t really been tested so it will be interesting to see how he goes if he is. I hope he fails because I’m on Auger-Aliassime at 50/1 for this match having backed him outright and that’s all the interest I need here.
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Novak Djokovic vs Alexander Zverev
The second semi-final sees two men who are having their career best year battling it out when Novak Djokovic looks to move to within a win of the calendar Grand Slam and a piece of history when he goes up against the Olympic champion Alexander Zverev who is looking to make the final here for the second year in a row.
Djokovic has made it through the draw this week but he hasn’t been the emphatic consistent star we are used to seeing. He has dropped the first set in three of his five matches but opponents have run out of legs at the key moments. I don’t see that happening with Zverev so he’ll be eager to start better here. There is a lot of talk about Zverev beating Djokovic at the Olympics, and rightly so, but people always should remember that Zverev took Djokovic to the cleaners in the final at the o2 a couple of years ago. Those were both the best of three sets but the point is Zverev doesn’t fear Djokovic in big matches. The German has dropped just the one set to make it to this stage and it needed Jack Sock to fire winners from everywhere to take that off him. I’ve never seen Zverev looking more confident and I expect him to take the game to Djokovic here.
I’m also on him outright so I hope he wins but the 38.5 games line looks low enough to target. Even before the Olympic win Zverev was challenging Djokovic. He took a set off him in Australia earlier in the year in a match which had two tiebreaks and 44 games and the match before that went to a decider in the ATP Cup which had a tiebreak and a 7-5 set in 33 games. They were all in 2021 so there is enough to believe we’ll reach game 39 before this is settled in conditions that bring Zverev even more into the game.
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