US Open Men’s Semifinal Predictions: Novak Djokovic vs Alexander Zverev

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We have a blockbuster men’s semifinal on our hands at the US Open, as Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev will battle for a spot in the final. Can Djokovic complete his quest for the first Calendar Year Grand Slam since 1988 (first man since 1969)? Or will Zverev put an end to those historic dreams? As always, our writers are here to share their thoughts on the match. Who do you think will win? Predicting this match are Anish Joshi, Jim Smith, Jack Edward, Andrew Watson, and Damian Kust. We also predicted the other men’s semifinal, between Daniil Medvedev and Felix Auger-Aliassime.

Novak Djokovic vs Alexander Zverev

Anish:
Djokovic was not at his best in the quarterfinal against Berrettini, but when he warmed up, Berrettini practically struggled to even hold serve. Such has been his hold on the game. But the only area where he has lacked this tournament is that he has only one straight-set win. Djokovic is taking an unusually high amount of time to get set. This will hurt him against Zverev, who will not waste any chances. Zverev has been serving excellently throughout the tournament, and when he hits top gear, looks like the best player at the moment. For years, tennis fans have awaited the arrival of the NextGen. Till now, they have managed to entertain, but not achieve. Against the top guys, the NextGen haven’t been able to make the transition from a “good try” to victory. Now, after years of losing close matches, they have finally started to find their footing on the big stage. At his best, I feel that Zverev has the ability to take three sets off Djokovic, and even go further to finish the task he couldn’t last year.
Prediction: Zverev in 4

Jim:
If Djokovic does go on to complete the Calendar Grand Slam this may well end up having been his biggest test in New York. Zverev comes into the match in superb form and he has shown he has the weapons to hit through Djokovic, having beaten the Serb in Tokyo. But he has never beaten a Top 10 opponent at a Major, let alone the World #1. That win will come, and sooner rather than later, but Djokovic has been finding a way all year. Expect him to do so again here.
Prediction: Djokovic in 5

Jack:
Both men are in scintillating form. Alexander Zverev has won 16 consecutive matches and Novak Djokovic has won 26 consecutive matches at Grand Slam level. Zverev has arguably looked the more comfortable of the two in New York but this could act in the Serb’s favor–the challenges Djokovic has faced so far have potentially warmed him up for a battle. Whatever happens, Djokovic is going to fight and the longer match goes on, the more I’d have to favour the world #1 – Zverev is yet to show he can sustain his best level over five sets, going 0-12 to Top 10 players in this format. It’ll go the distance, but I’ve got to back the Calendar contender.
Prediction: Djokovic in 5

Andrew:
Probably the first true heavyweight clash of the men’s draw for me. Berrettini was the latest talented player to throw everything at Djokovic only to have it all absorbed and then dismissed like some superhero movie villain. Zverev’s serving statistics are off the charts for this tournament with a ridiculously high first serve win percentage. If he gets above 70% in that stat again then it gives him a chance here. Djokovic leads the H2H 7-3 but Zverev won the last encounter in Tokyo a few weeks ago. I don’t think either player wins this in straight sets but with the Serbian coming in on 26 straight best of 5 match wins and then Zverev off 16 straight wins it’s tough to separate them. Ultimately, I have to favour Djokovic because he has the best temperament at the death. Zverev’s old problem of getting across the line could be his undoing.
Prediction: Djokovic in 5

Damian:
The new evidence in Zverev’s domestic abuse case hasn’t affected on his performance on court. The German still hasn’t lost since Wimbledon, taking titles at the Olympics and Cincinnati. Is that going to be enough to fend off Djokovic? Zverev still doesn’t own a Top 10 win at Grand Slams, although there’s no apparent reason why his game would be less effective in a best-of-five scenario. In this matchup, the German needs to serve out of his mind (which he’s been doing, for the most part, this fortnight), and come out of his comfort zone to play with great aggression. This could be a classic, but I think the odds are slightly against Zverev maintaining the required level for three sets. Djokovic had some weaker moments in New York so far, but he remains the mental and physical giant that managed to win 26 matches in Majors this year already. I think he might just add at least one more.
Prediction: Djokovic in 5

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