Novak Djokovic didn't let the home crowd favorite affect his momentum in the U.S. Open semifinals.
"These are the kinds of matches and occasions that I still thrive on, keep me going, and inspire me to wake up every day and try to work as hard as the young guys," Djokovic said after the win. "Grand Slams are the ones that count the most in our sport and obviously the ones that motivate me to play my best tennis."
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Twenty-year-old Shelton came into the match confident, saying he wasn't feeling nervous about playing the 23-time Grand Slam singles title.
Despite the mentality, Djokovic came in with experience and firepower that overrode the American youngster.
The games that ended in Shelton's favor were the quick, one-two-punch type rallies. Anytime the Serbian got comfortable, he oftentimes won the point by tiring out Shelton or creating a great opportunity to execute.
After two straightforward sets, Shelton came back to life in the third set. He was up 5-4 and had a set point but was unable to break Djokovic's serve. The set came down to a tiebreaker which Djokovic won 7-4.
Djokovic will become the new world No. 1 on Monday when the new rankings come out regardless of the final outcome. Because the star didn't play the U.S. Open last year, he had no points to defend, resulting in a ranking boost.
Djokovic will face the winner of Carlos Alcaraz and Daniil Medvedev in the U.S. Open final. That semifinal match will take place at 7 p.m. ET.
The U.S. Open final will take place on Sunday at 4 p.m. ET.