'Wait for it': Tennis fans react to Novak Djokovic drama at US Open

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Novak Djokovic dropped the first set for the fourth time in a row at the US Open during his semi-final with Alexander Zverev. Pic: Getty
Novak Djokovic dropped the first set for the fourth time in a row at the US Open during his semi-final with Alexander Zverev. Pic: Getty

If Novak Djokovic is to create tennis history at the US Open then he seems determined to do it the hard way.

On Friday night in New York, the World No.1 was taking on Alexander Zverev for a place in the finals at Flushing Meadows and a step closer to a record-breaking 21st major that would also complete a rare calendar year Grand Slam.

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No male player has won all four majors in the same year since Australia's Rod Laver in 1969 and Djokovic has been determined to avoid talking about it in New York.

Djokovic's passage through to the last four hasn't been as straightforward as he or many fans would have imagined, with the World No.1 suffering several hiccups in the lead-up to the showdown with Zverev, who beat the Serb in the Tokyo Olympics on his way to claiming the gold medal.

Indeed, the 20-time grand slam champion had uncharacteristically dropped the first set in the three previous matches against Kei Nishikori, Jenson Brooksby and Matteo Berrettini.

His victories in those matches once again highlighted how hard the Serb is to beat over a best-of-five set contest.

Against Zverev, the 34-year-old again dropped the opening set after an enthralling opening stanza against his German opponent.

Novak Djokovic looks on in frustration after losing the first set of his US Open semi-final. Pic: Getty
Novak Djokovic looks on in frustration after losing the first set of his US Open semi-final. Pic: Getty

When Djokovic skied what appeared to be a regulation return off the frame of his racquet it signalled the fourth match in succession that he'd dropped the first set.

The dramatic scenes lit up the tennis world, with fans labelling it "inevitable" that Djokovic would go to another level in the second set.

Novak Djokovic one win away from tennis immortality

True to form, the World No.1 turned the screws in the second set, with an early break of Zverev's serve signalling his intentions.

Before the German knew it he was 2-5 down and serving to stay in the second stanza against a red-hot opponent who'd started finding his range with brutal consistency.

An unforced error from Zverev gave Djokovic two break point chances and despite saving one of them, a wayward pass from the World No.4 left the match delicately poised at one set apiece.

Nothing could seperate the players until the tenth game of the third set when Djokovic set up a triple break point chance.

Zverev managed to save two of them with an incredible 53-shot rally sending the Arthur Ashe crowd into raptures.

However, Djokovic kept the relentless pressure going and finally converted his third chance to take an ominous two-sets-to-one lead.

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