He needed the full five sets to do it, but the world No. 1 from Serbia defeated No. 4 Alexander Zverev of Germany 4-6, 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 in the US Open semifinal at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Friday.
Djokovic, 34, is tied with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal with 20 major singles titles — the most in men’s tennis. He will face Russian and world No. 2 Daniil Medvedev in the final on Sunday.
On the court after Friday’s win, Djokovic said: “There’s only one match left. All in, let’s do it. I’m going to put my heart and my soul and my body and my head into that one. I’m going to treat the next match like it is the last match of my career.”
Medvedev, 25, defeated 12th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada in straight sets earlier Friday, reaching his third grand slam final. He has dropped just one set in this year’s US Open.
This will be Medvedev’s second US Open final, having lost to Nadal in five sets in 2019. He lost the Australian Open final to Djokovic in straight sets earlier this year.
After his semifinal win, Medvedev said he learned a lot from that match against Djokovic in Melbourne.
“He was playing different than the matches he did before me, and I was kind of not ready for it. So now I am,” Medvedev said of Djokovic’s tactics.
Of the final, he said: “It’s going to be more interesting in terms of tactic what I’m going to prepare .. No matter the score, I’m just going to turn up the heat, if I can say, and try to do my best, even more than what I did in Melbourne.”
Instead, Djokovic left without a medal after losing to Zverev in the semifinals. It was Zverev, a finalist at last year’s US Open, who went on to win the gold medal in the best-of-three-sets format.