Rafael Nadal posed with crutches and an apparently bandaged foot as the injured former US Open champion revealed on Saturday he has undergone treatment in Barcelona.

The 20-time grand slam winner announced in August that his season was over, as he battles a problem that has troubled him since 2005 and has recently hindered his tournament preparation.

Nadal felt he was unable to do himself justice, and since a French Open semi-final defeat to Novak Djokovic in June, he has played just two more matches, reaching the last 16 at the Citi Open in Washington.

He wrote on Instagram on Saturday: "Hello everyone, I have not communicated with you through the networks for some time.

"I can tell you that I was in Barcelona with my team and the medical team, to receive a treatment on my foot that will mean I take a few days of rest and a few weeks off court.

"I am back home and in the process of recovery. Thank you all for your support!"

The social media post shows Mallorca native Nadal giving a thumbs-up gesture to the camera, but it also gives an indication of the extent of his problem.

He stands with only his right foot on the ground, the left raised off the floor in what looks like an effort to protect it, as he props himself up with a pair of crutches in his left hand.

Nadal has won the US Open four times, most recently in 2019, but has been one of a number of star-name absentees from this year's tournament in New York.

The 35-year-old has 13 French Open wins among his haul of majors, and stands level on 20 grand slams with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.

Djokovic has an opportunity to go top of the all-time men's list on Sunday when he faces Daniil Medvedev in the men's final at Flushing Meadows.

As Nadal suffers, so does his great rival Federer. A Nadal return to action in 2022 appears a more likely prospect than another Federer comeback.

Federer has cast some doubt on whether he will play again, as the 40-year-old battles knee trouble. The Swiss said last month he would be "on crutches for many weeks" after surgery, declaring he wanted to give himself "a glimmer of hope" of featuring again on tour.

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

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."

Novak Djokovic moved within two wins of an historic calendar Grand Slam at the US Open after completing a merciless comeback against Matteo Berrettini 5-7 6-2 6-2 6-3 en route to the semi-finals.

Berrettini was seeking revenge for his Wimbledon final loss to Djokovic and the Italian sixth seed gave himself a good chance after winning the opening set at Flushing Meadows on Wednesday.

But Berrettini was helplessly outclassed in a devastating display from world number one Djokovic, who is bidding to become just the third man to sweep all four majors in a year and first since 1969.

The 20-time major champion, who can also break the record for most men's slam titles – currently tied with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, will face Alexander Zverev in the New York semis.

For the third consecutive match, Djokovic done it the hard way, rallying after dropping the opening set, just like he did against Jenson Brooksby and Kei Nishikori.

In a brutal display of big hitting, Berrettini had the crowd roaring – firing down seven aces and saving two break points in a marathon first set lasting one hour, 17 minutes.

Berrettini held serve in a physically demanding sixth game after 12 minutes and seven deuces.

Djokovic – not without his chances – did not look like his usual self, spraying a forehand wide as Berrettini seized control following four set points.

Berrettini was looking to claim his first win over Djokovic after three consecutive defeats and earn his first top-10 victory at a grand slam (0-5 heading into the contest), but the Serb star turned the match on its head into the second set.

Djokovic, though, flipped the switch as he broke for the first time to move 3-1 ahead before consolidating for a 4-1 lead, silencing the pro-Berrettini crowd in New York, where the latter was unable to stop the rot.

Berrettini looked deflated and tired in the third set – Djokovic racing out to a commanding 3-0 advantage.

Djokovic missed the chance to move 5-2 ahead but it only delayed the inevitable as he fended off a break point the very next game to eventually earn a two-sets-to-one lead.

And the 34-year-old could not be stopped as he celebrated his 80th US Open match win in emphatic fashion.

 

Data slam: Can Djokovic be stopped?

Djokovic extended his winning streak at grand slams to 26 matches, while he also remains unbeaten in US Open quarter-finals (12-0). The record-chasing star also owns a 9-0 major record in 2021 after dropping the first set.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Djokovic – 44/28
Berrettini – 42/43

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Djokovic – 12/4
Berrettini – 17/2

BREAK POINTS WON

Djokovic – 5/16
Berrettini – 1/5

Alexander Zverev is riding a wave at the US Open after his confidence-boosting win over world number one Novak Djokovic en route to claiming gold at the Olympic Games.

Zverev survived a first-set scare to power past Lloyd Harris 7-6 (8-6) 6-3 6-4 in Wednesday's US Open quarter-final.

The German fourth seed will face either Djokovic, who is bidding to become just the third man to complete a calendar Grand Slam and first since 1969, or Matteo Berrettini for a spot in the men's final at Flushing Meadows.

Zverev – last year's US Open runner-up – said he has been fuelled by his semi-final win over Djokovic at the Tokyo Games.

"It's the biggest tournament in the world, Tokyo. It's the Olympics," Zverev said during his post-match news conference.

"Winning there against the world number one, especially that I was down a set and a break, being kind of out of the match, then coming back, it was different than the other matches. The emotions were different.

"Also securing a medal for Germany was very special to me. This year it seems like nobody can beat him in a big match, nobody can beat him at the grand slams.

"I feel like I was the first player to beat him in a very big match this year. That does give you something. To any person it would give you something.

"As I said before also, I think it was very important for me to back it up in the finals, back it up in Cincinnati. Hopefully I can continue this streak."

Zverev is in the midst of a career-best 16-match winning streak and has clinched 37 of 40 sets on the hard courts after winning Olympic gold and his fifth career ATP Masters 1000 crown in Cincinnati.

The 24-year-old is bidding to become the second man in history to win Olympic gold medal and the US Open/US Championships title in the same season, after Andy Murray in 2012.

On preparing against Djokovic, Zverev added: "You have to be perfect, otherwise you will not win.

"Most of the time you can't be perfect. That's why most of the time people lose to him. Against him, you have to win the match yourself. You have to be the one that is dominating the points. You have to do it with very little unforced errors.

"He is the best player in the world. He is very difficult to beat. But he's still also got to win tonight. He's playing Matteo Berrettini who is in very good form, finals of Wimbledon. I think he's looking forward to that match, as well. It's going to be an interesting match to watch those two."

Alexander Zverev won his 16th match in a row with a straight-sets victory over Lloyd Harris on Wednesday to reach the US Open semi-finals.

The fourth seed saved a set point from Harris in a tense opener and built on that to earn a 7-6 (8-6) 6-3 6-4 triumph in a little over two hours.

Zverev has dropped just one set across his five matches at Flushing Meadows this year and will face either Novak Djokovic or Matteo Berrettini as he seeks a place in back-to-back finals.

"I just hope their match goes on for eight hours and 30 minutes," Zverev joked when asked who he would prefer to face in the semi-finals.

"I didn't have a lot of chances on Harris' serve today and somehow managed to win that first set, which loosened me up a little bit and I started playing a lot better.

"In the third set, he started swinging. He started playing incredible tennis. So yeah, I'm happy to be through in three."

Harris beat three top-30 seeds to make it to this stage and more than held his own in the opening set against Zverev, who lost to Dominic Thiem in last year's final.

After sharing a break of serve apiece, Harris led 6-5 in the tie-break but lost the next three points to offer his opponent a platform to build from.

Despite struggling with a minor back problem, Zverev took advantage of his unseeded opponent's five unforced errors by holding throughout the second set.

The four-time grand slam semi-finalist raced into a 4-0 lead in the third set, but Harris slowly regained his composure and claimed the next three games.

Zverev's monster serve came to his rescue, however, as he took the eighth game and eased over the line in style with his 21st ace of the contest.

 

DATA SLAM

Zverev did not have things all his own way as he struggled in the opening set and was sloppy when leading 4-1 in the final set, but he ultimately proved too strong for an opponent ranked 46th in the world.

Last year's beaten finalist Zverev has served 83 aces and just 15 double faults across his first five matches and won 82 per cent of his first-serve points against Harris. Whether it is Djokovic or Berrettini, a tougher test awaits in the semi-finals.


WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Zverev – 43/26
Harris – 34/26

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Zverev – 21/5
Harris – 13/1

BREAK POINTS WON

Zverev – 4/9
Harris – 2/3

Canadian 12th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime feels "ready to attack the biggest stages" of tennis after becoming the first male player born in the 2000s to reach a major semi-final.

Auger-Aliassime advanced to face second seed Daniil Medvedev in the semi-finals on Friday after a 6-3 3-1 walkover win over Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz who succumbed to an upper right leg injury after back-to-back five-set wins.

The 21-year-old Canadian, whose previous best performance at a major was reaching this year's Wimbledon quarter-finals, has defeated Alcaraz, Francis Tiafoe and 18th seed Roberto Bautista Agut on his way to the last four.

Prior to this year's Wimbledon, Auger-Aliassime had never gone beyond the fourth round at a major.

"There's one part, I'm feeling more and more confident playing in these big stages," he told ESPN. "It doesn’t get much bigger than this. When you get comfortable on this court [Arthur Ashe Stadium], everything else is a bit lower.

"I've tried to switch my mentality over the past year to try to be more consistent with my focus, my confidence and my inner self belief. I feel I've grown a lot as a person and a player and now I feel like I'm ready to attack the biggest stages of our sport."

Auger-Aliassime labelled the career milestone as "amazing", albeit coming with a "weird ending" as Alcaraz retired without any major signs of injury beforehand.

The Canadian will take on 2021 Australian Open runner-up Medvedev, who defeated Auger-Aliassime in their only previous meeting in 2018.

"He's one of the best players, he's the most solid on hard courts probably right now with [Alexander] Zverev and Novak [Djokovic]," Auger-Aliassime said during his on-court post-match interview.

"I'm going to have to play my best tennis, try to mix things up, maybe come in a lot, try to see what I can do to disturb him."

Auger-Aliassime's triumph also means two Canadians have reached the men's and women's semi-finals at the same major for only the second time, following Milos Raonic and Eugenie Bouchard at Wimbledon in 2014.

He joins Canadian teenager Leylah Fernandez who defeated fifth Elina Svitolina in three sets to continue her dream run at the US Open reaching the last four.

"It's fantastic. She's amazing," Auger-Aliassime said about 19-year-old Fernandez. "I watched her match again today, I really hope the best for her.

"She's a great person, she's got great heart. I'm really happy all her hard work is paying off. I hope we keep going."

Canadian 12th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime has progressed to his first-ever major semi-final after Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz's shock withdrawal in the second set of their US Open quarter-final.

Alcaraz, who had won back-to-back five-setters to reach the last eight, retired 68 minutes into Tuesday's quarter-final trailing 6-3 3-1.

The result means Auger-Aliassime, who has never won an ATP Tour title, will take on second seed Daniil Medvedev in the semi-finals on Friday.

The Spanish 18-year-old was attended to by a physiotherapist 2-1 down in the second set and was seen pointing to his upper right leg without receiving any discernible treatment.

Alcaraz had not shown any major signs of injury prior to that yet withdrew following the completion of the next game with the Canadian in control.

Beyond the unusual circumstances, the victory marks a major milestone for 21-year-old Auger-Aliassime, who joins countrywoman Leylah Fernandez in reaching this year's US Open semi-finals.

This marks the second time that two Canadians have reached the semis in the same grand slam, joining Milos Raonic and Eugenie Bouchard at Wimbledon in 2014.

Auger-Aliassime, whose best previous major result was reaching this year's Wimbledon quarter-finals, was strong on his first serve early, delivering 6-1 aces in the first set.

Leading 3-2, the Canadian broke Alcaraz at the third attempt, before both players held to give Auger-Aliassime the chance to serve for the set at 5-3.

In a dramatic game, Auger-Aliassime offered up three break points trailing 0-40, only to rally and win the game to close out the set in 44 minutes, aided by 12 winners.

The 21-year-old broke Alcaraz in the first game of the second set, before Alcaraz's premature retirement, handing the Canadian victory.

Data Slam: First of a new men's generation

Auger-Aliassime becomes the first male born in the 2000s to reach a Grand Slam semi-final, marking a new generation in men's tennis.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Auger-Aliassime – 15/16

Alcaraz – 9/16

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Auger-Aliassime – 8/4

Alcaraz – 1/1

BREAK POINTS WON

Auger-Aliassime – 2/7

Alcaraz – 0/3

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

Jenson Brooksby has confidence he can compete with anybody after threatening a fourth-round upset against Novak Djokovic at the US Open.

The unheralded American posed a real problem for Djokovic at Arthur Ashe Stadium and took out the opening set 6-1 in New York City.

It was not to be, though, as Djokovic – chasing a calendar Grand Slam – roared back to win 1-6 6-3 6-2 6-2.

Despite falling short, Brooksby is only looking at the positives from going toe-to-toe with the world number one in such a huge match.

"It's definitely all positive things to take away. I learned my game. I'm feeling really confident in my game. I believe I can compete with anybody," Brooksby said after his first run to the second week of a grand slam.

"I knew it would be important to start strong, to impose my mindset and my strategy, my game out there. It's definitely special. I mean, I always enjoy the matches and everything throughout the moment. Obviously you have to stay focused.

"Afterwards, you can always have time to reflect more. Just appreciate and enjoy for the whole journey.

"Atmospheres like that are what you want to be in front of since you were a little kid, watching on TV when you were young, and now you're living it. It is something I really appreciate and I'm grateful to be here now. I'm excited to keep [playing] in atmospheres like this for the future."

Brooksby required treatment a couple of times during the match and revealed he was contending with an issue to his left hip.

"Yeah, there was something. Something that kind of came up from later in the second match, then in the third one. Even with a day off, then kind of into today, like my left hip kind of was bothering me even early on and more into it," he added.

"Not like it's an excuse or anything, but it kind of went throughout the leg today a bit. I was struggling more to push off and move. But that's part of the sport. I did everything I could to feel the best I can going out there today and all the other days. There's no regrets on that.

"I definitely think if there wasn't that, I could have kept a better level up closer to the first set throughout the rest of the match."

Brooksby only reached the world's top 100 earlier this month and is now projected to be on the cusp of the top 40.

The 20-year-old relished his first experience of playing on Arthur Ashe.

"I did take time to look around a little bit, just appreciated being in an atmosphere like that with so many people cheering you on. Took a moment to still have it all in after," he said. 

"You're not going to win every match you play obviously, but you still have to enjoy it.

"I think [the belief] comes from definitely more training, but most importantly other match situations against other guys and just the whole process of it. 

"Leading up to it, I 100 per cent believed I could win against anybody. I thought I showed that with the level I could produce out there. Unfortunately, physically it got a little tougher."

Novak Djokovic said "I'll take your legs out, that's for sure" after digging deep to outlast American qualifier Jenson Brooksby in a physically demanding encounter at the US Open.

Djokovic – bidding to become only the third man to claim a calendar Grand Slam and first since Rod Laver in 1969 – rallied from a set down to prevail 1-6 6-3 6-2 6-2 en route to the quarter-finals in New York on Monday.

It was a brutal clash on Arthur Ashe Stadium, 20-time major champion and top seed Djokovic needed almost three hours to see off world number 99 Brooksby, who was making his debut at the iconic venue.

After being blitzed in a 29-minute opening set, Djokovic and Brooksby contested a gruelling 20-minute fifth game in the second set – the latter converting a sixth break-point chance.

Djokovic's physical superiority, however, was on display as the Serb star eventually powered past the spirited 20-year-old at Flushing Meadows.

During the last-16 matchup, former world number one Andy Roddick tweeted, in reference to Djokovic, "first he takes your legs… then he takes your soul".

Djokovic – who will face sixth seed Matteo Berrettini in a repeat of the Wimbledon final – said on court: "Thanks Andy, I take that as a compliment – only the first part.

"The second part, I don't take anybody's soul. Everyone has their soul, we're all beautiful souls so I appreciate everyone. But I'll take your legs out, that's for sure."

Djokovic hit 44 winners in the four-set triumph, to go with 41 unforced errors in a tricky clash under the Arthur Ashe lights.

With his hard-fought victory, Djokovic improved to 11-0 against Americans at the US Open. He is 29-3 at major events and 70-10 in ATP Tour-level matches.

The 34-year-old is on a 21-match winning streak against players from the United States since Sam Querrey snapped his 30-match slam streak at Wimbledon in 2016.

"Great quality match," Djokovic, who can break the record for most men's slam titles – currently level with injured pair Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, told reporters. "He started off better. I've never played him. I didn't see him play too many times. Maybe few matches in the last few months. Haven't followed his career prior to that, so I didn't know much about him. Had to do some homework and some analysis.

"It's different stepping out on the court first time against someone that really has nothing to lose. He's a young, talented player that is very crafty. He's got the really all-around game. He was pumped. He had the crowd behind him, of course. He played a perfect first set. Everything he intended to do he executed it perfectly.

"On my end, I was just trying to find a rhythm, trying to read his game, trying to understand where I can find holes in his game and start to attack and shift the momentum to my side.

"That happened already at the beginning of the second set. I broke him early. He broke back. But I re-broke his serve right away. We had some very, very long rallies, long games. It took a toll physically I think on both of us at that point. But I managed to find the right serves. I served efficiently when I needed to, opening up the court.

"The third and fourth set were really, really good from my side. I felt I was more dominant. I decreased the unforced errors that were really high in the first part of the match. I just was kind of swinging through the ball better. Was a good finish. It wasn't a good start. But all in all, expected the battle, and I got that one. I'm pleased to overcome it."

World number one Novak Djokovic's quest for a calendar Grand Slam and record-breaking 21st major title remains on track after outlasting Jenson Brooksby 1-6 6-3 6-2 6-2 in a gruelling US Open showdown.

Unheralded American qualifier and world number 99 Brooksby had the crowd roaring following an incredible opening set against Djokovic in Monday's last-16 clash at Flushing Meadows.

However, Djokovic – bidding to become only the third man to sweep all four slams in the same year and first since Rod Laver in 1969 – responded to the almighty challenge, showcasing his superior physicality as the three-time US Open champion rallied into the quarter-finals in New York.

Brooksby was making his first appearance on Arthur Ashe Stadium, where the 20-year-old was looking to become the lowest-ranked player to beat a number one at the US Open since the start of the ATP rankings in 1973 and youngest American man since Andy Roddick (2003 Wimbledon) to reach a major quarter-final.

He was not overawed on the big stage, blitzing Djokovic in a remarkable first set. Playing with a bounce in his step and bringing the crowd to its feet, Brooksby only hit one unforced error in a dominant 29-minute display, which included two breaks of serve.

Djokovic was 38-34 at grand slams when losing the opening set and 12-10 at Flushing Meadows and after an error-filled opener, the Serb star let out an almighty roar after racing out to a 3-0 lead.

Just as Djokovic – level on 20 men's slams with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer – looked comfortable, he endured a marathon 20-minute fifth game against Brooksby.

Brooksby broke at the sixth time of asking and the breath-taking tennis continued as Djokovic broke straight back to reclaim his advantage at 4-2 – the latter ending the game with an intense stare down in the direction of his opponent.

After a gruelling second set to level the match, the third followed a similar pattern, with Djokovic breaking in the opening game before moving 3-0 ahead.

Djokovic did not relinquish that lead, hitting 13 winners while claiming 11 of his 13 points at the net as he took the match to Brooksby.

Brooksby put up a huge fight but, he was unable to maintain his charge as the crowd went silent – Djokovic looking ahead to a last-eight showdown with sixth seed Matteo Berrettini in a rematch of the Wimbledon final.

 

Data slam: Djokovic flawless against locals in New York

With his hard-fought victory, which lasted almost three hours, Djokovic improved to 11-0 against Americans at the US Open. He is 29-3 at major events and 70-10 in ATP Tour-level matches. The 34-year-old is on a 21-match winning streak against players from the United States since Sam Querrey snapped his 30-match slam streak at Wimbledon in 2016.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Djokovic – 44/41
Brooksby – 27/28

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Djokovic – 9/1
Brooksby – 4/1

BREAK POINTS WON

Djokovic – 6/12
Brooksby – 3/11

Carlos Alcaraz's fairytale run to the quarter-finals at the US Open is a dream come true for the Spanish teenager.

Alcaraz became the youngest men's US Open quarter-finalist in the Open Era when he ousted Peter Gojowczyk 5-7 6-1 5-7 6-2 6-0 on Sunday.

The 18-year-old, who became the youngest man to defeat a top-three player at Flushing Meadows when he beat Stefanos Tsitsipas last week, is also the most junior male player at the New York grand slam since Thomaz Koch in 1963.

Similarly, Sunday's triumph made him the youngest men's singles quarter-finalist at any grand slam since Michael Chang (18) made the last eight at the 1990 French Open.

Alcaraz will now face another rising star – Felix Auger-Aliassime – for a place in the semi-finals.

"I'm super excited to be in my first second week in the grand slam, so it's amazing for me. It's a dream come true," an ecstatic Alcaraz told reporters.

"It's really tough to play these kinds of matches, to play fifth sets. I hope to play [in] more second weeks, to play more quarter-finals of grand slams.

"I didn't expect to play in the quarter-finals here, so I think it's a really good performance from me in these matches."

Dubbed as the heir to Rafael Nadal's thrown, Alcaraz has certainly had the crowd on his side during his run.

"In the first sets I thought that I reached my limit, physically and mentally. I think the crowd was really, really important for me in this situation," Alcaraz added.

"I felt the energy of the crowd pushing me up. I think without the crowd, it couldn't be possible to be here."

Alcaraz faces a stern test in the form of world number 15 Auger-Aliassime, who has reached his second straight grand slam quarter-final.

However, the 21-year-old Canadian – who is aiming to secure a maiden appearance in the last four of a major – knows the quality Alcaraz possesses.

"He's a great player. At some point age is just a number. He already feels like a player who's established," Auger-Aliassime said of Alcaraz.

"He's playing some amazing tennis, so I think we’ll see a lot of him, a lot of us, a lot of Frances [Tiafoe] in the future."

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