US Open 2023: Daniil Medvedev takes out Carlos Alcaraz, will face Novak Djokovic in final

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 08: Daniil Medvedev of Russia celebrates a point against Carlos Alcaraz of Spain during their Men's Singles Semifinal match on Day Twelve of the 2023 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 08, 2023 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Daniil Medvedev has reached his third US Open final. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

The 2023 US Open men's singles final will be Daniil Medvedev vs. Novak Djokovic, a rematch of the 2021 final, after the Russian took out top seed Carlos Alcaraz 7-6 (3), 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 in the semifinals on Friday.

Djokovic defeated unseeded American Ben Shelton earlier in the day to reach a record 36th Grand Slam final.

Medvedev will be returning to the US Open finals for a third time, after beating Djokovic in 2021 for his first and only Grand Slam final and losing to Rafael Nadal in 2019. Djokovic will be playing for his first title in New York since 2018, having exited in 2019 with a shoulder injury, been disqualified in 2020 for hitting a linesperson with a ball and missed the 2022 tournament because his visa was revoked over his lack of COVID-19 vaccination.

Djokovic, who is already assured the No. 1 ranking after this tournament, holds a 9-5 career record against Medvedev, but lost their most recent meeting 6-4, 6-4 in Dubai this year. It was Djokovic's only loss on the hard court this year.

Medvedev vs. Alcaraz was as exciting as advertised

The first set was the pivotal frame for Medvedev, as Alcaraz arguably outplayed him early. Neither player scored a break that set, but Alcaraz didn't even allow Medvedev to reach a break point. He also had more winners (16-12), fewer unforced errors (9-12) and fewer double faults (0-6).

Even so, Medvedev held serve (Alcaraz went 0-for-2 on break points), then took the tiebreak. The quality of play was high throughout the first set, but one point stood above the others, with the pair exchanging 10 shots at the net:

Medvedev maintained momentum in the second set, breaking Alcaraz early and cruising from there to take a commanding lead.

At that point, Alcaraz was in dire straits considering he had never come back from being down two sets before Friday. They resumed play after an extended break and Alcaraz finally got his first break of the game to go up 3-1.

The entire match hinged on the sixth game of the fourth set, where both players, arguably the two most creative shotmakers in tennis right now, peaked in form. The game went to seven deuces, with some truly unbelievable points.

Medvedev came away with the crucial break, then consolidated it with a quick hold of serve. Two games later, he was serving for the match against the defending champ. Even that wasn't easy, as he had to save a double break point and then double-faulted twice in a row after reaching his first match point.

After five deuces, Medvedev finally had the win. And an even bigger challenge ahead of him.