NEW YORK (AP) — Novak Djokovic reached his record 47th Grand Slam semifinal, breaking a tie with Roger Federer for the most by a man, by defeating Taylor Fritz 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 at the U.S. Open on a steamy Tuesday.
Djokovic improved to 13-0 for his career in quarterfinals at Flushing Meadows — and to 8-0 against Fritz, an American who was seeded No. 9.
The match was played with the Arthur Ashe Stadium retractable roof partially shut, which offered shade both for spectators and the two competitors on an afternoon when the temperature topped 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 Celsius) and the humidity was above 55%.
On the changeovers, the players sought solace, either by removing a shirt for a bit or wrapping ice-stuffed towels around their necks or pouring water overhead.
Both Djokovic, a 36-year-old from Serbia, and Fritz, a 25-year-old from California, had some trouble on the most sweltering day of the tournament so far.
But while Djokovic eventually got his shots straightened out, Fritz’s miscues just kept on coming.
Fritz had 19 unforced errors and just four winners in the first set, and while he did start to put more balls in the court as the match wore on, he was unable to find the mark consistently enough. By the end, Fritz had 51 unforced errors, nearly twice as many as Djokovic’s 26.
On Friday, Djokovic will take on another American — either No. 10 Frances Tiafoe or unseeded Ben Shelton, who were scheduled to meet each other Tuesday night.
It was the first time since 2005 that three U.S. men made it to the quarterfinals in New York.
Fritz heard a ton of support from the partisan Ashe fans, especially as he was trying to get back into the match against Djokovic, who dispensed with 10 of the 12 break points he faced.
There was only one moment when Djokovic appeared rattled, yelling and pumping his fists while looking into the stands on successive points. One particular spectator called out during a point, a no-no in tennis.
“He was actually in the box where some of my friends were. I don’t know who the guy was but, yeah, I was pretty annoyed by him at that point,” Djokovic said. “I was communicating with my friends to have a little chat with him.”
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