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Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Djokovic scores a recital – The News 24

It was a chloroform-drenched night, too cold and too calculated, so even, so tight, and so strictly controlled that it was hard to imagine what was going to happen next: Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev had fooled everyone.

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Everything jumped into the air when at the end of the third quarter, an anthological exchange of 53 blows resolved in favor of the German released the ring of the grenade, freed the two and unleashed a duel that the number one, imperial, managed and decided with him. mastery of a gifted person: 4-6, 6-2, 6-4, 4-6 and 6-2, after 3h 35m. That is, Nole is already one step away from his 21st major and completing the Grand Slam, and only one man, the Russian Daniil Medvedev (6-4, 7-5 and 6-2 to Felix Auger-Aliassime, in 2h 04m ), you can avoid it in the final this Sunday (22.00, Eurosport).

Between the Serbian and the glory, a stumbling block. The stumbling block. A pediment built in Moscow. The one against the two, simply.

There Djokovic emerges when the situation looks more than ugly, when his rival rebels again and again and Zverev fights, fights and fights. Squeeze and squeeze the Belgrade German, who comes out of almost everyone, and what a way to escape. Houdini would sign it. Practically in a trance, he processes until he finds himself and channels with all the tools he always carries in that golden briefcase: immense for others, prodigious with the backhand and, even more remarkable, extraordinary in service when turning. off. the fires. This is how he gets up, this is how he responds and this is how he appeases an adversary who has chained 16 victories and has given him a break.

At other times, Zverev would have fainted. However, he resisted until Djokovic -eight breaks to break the wall and 35 hits in 43 uploads to the network – he put the direct and decided to end it suspense novel: history awaits you. “Better not know what was going through my head …”, he jokes when asked about the point of the marathon that set the night on fire. “I am going to approach the next game as if it were the last of my career,” he warns in parliament while Rod Laver, the man with the capital letters, watches him from one of the backgrounds, whose legend he intends to collect. up to the witness. On two occasions, 1962 and 1969, the Australian closed the circle of the big four in the same season.

Today it is the 34-year-old Balkan who is one step away. So close and yet so far. There are already 27 victories that this course links on the big stages and 31 semifinals throughout his career, just like Roger Federer. There is no going back and Tokyo’s wound will always be there, in the form of a scar, but victory has some revenge. He had to settle accounts with Zverev and will now approach Medvedev as the oldest player to reach the final in New York since Andre Agassi played it at 35 in 2005, the date of his retirement.

In any case, he knows perfectly well how Medvedev spends them, who must not be forgiven. Not the slightest second in the world passes, who arrived with the knife between his teeth, aware of how much he could not remove the thorn that Rafael Nadal nailed him in the 2019 final and ready to give himself another chance. Auger-Aliassime, still too cuddly, kept him tense until the Canadian played a trick on him and he hesitated. He forgave two balls to close out the second set and rekindle the game, and the Russian ate it.

In this way, Medvedev will play his second final in New York after the one in which he pushed Nadal to the limit. That day he cornered the Spaniard, but ended up leaving empty and wounded. Later, earlier this year, he was also on the verge of winning in Melbourne, but Djokovic handcuffed him from start to finish. Thus comes the revalidation for a feared and heterodox competitor, disconcerting because sometimes he seems not to be there and by the time he wants to realize it, the rival is already between the jaws, swallowed, with no escape.

It happened to Auger-Aliassime, wrinkled at the moment of truth – he was 5-2 in the second round to balance – so the Muscovite – 25 years and 12 ATP trophies, the Masters Cup last year as the jackpot. – will play this Sunday his third final of a important and thus equals the record of his compatriot Yevgeny Kafelnikov; one of Marat Safin is located, the only Russian who has managed to inscribe his name in the registry of the great New Yorker.

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