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Experience triumphs over youth in the US Open men's semifinals

Experience triumphs over youth in the US Open men's semifinals

At 36 years old, Novak Djokovic is the seasoned vet battling through a slew of new players to remain on top. Without Roger and Rafa in the mix, he's had young upstarts gunning for him at every grand slam. The US Open was no exception.

Ben Shelton, the 20-year-old Florida Gator, came into his match against the Serb with exuberance, spontaneity, and enthusiasm. But the experienced Djoker shut him down quickly in three sets, 6-3, 6-2, 7-6(4).

Above: While losing the semifinal to Novak Djokovic, the US Open was a coming out event for Ben Shelton, announcing that he is a force to be reckoned with at the upper echelons of the men's tour. Photo by Todd Pechter for Florida Tennis

“These are the types of matches I thrive on,” Djokovic said after the win. “The ones that inspire me to keep working as hard as the young guys.” 

Experience counts. Novak has 1,070 career wins; Ben, just 15. 

"I definitely learned a lot of things," Shelton said. “I think I learned a lot about myself these two weeks, knowing how deep I can go, how deep I can dig and what I can do competitively out on the tennis court, because I think it's such a mental sport.” 

Another 20-year-old, Carlos Alcaraz, also suffered defeat last night. The more senior player, 27-year-old Daniil Medvedev, downed Alcaraz 7-6(3), 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 in a heady display — remaining calm under pressure as the young Alcaraz kept frantically charging the net. 

Above: After steadying himself, Medvedev uncorks a big forehand to stay on the offensive. Photo by Todd Pechter for Florida Tennis

In a post-match interview, Medvedev commented on Alcaraz, "He’s so young, already two Grand Slams, world No. 1 for many weeks, it’s honestly just pretty unbelievable and I think nobody has done it before him. So to beat him you need to be better than yourself, and I managed to do it.”

In post-match comments, Alcaraz admitted he might not be "mature enough to handle these kinds of matches." The young Spaniard confessed, "I have to learn... I want to be better. These kinds of matches help you a lot to be better and grow up in these situations.”

With Coco Gauff facing Aryna Sabalenka later today, will the outcome be any different on the woman's side of the draw? Florida Tennis contributor Dave "Koz" Kozlowski recaps how the 19-year-old from Delray Beach is feeling after her semifinal win.

Above: Above: Florida Tennis contributor Dave "Koz" Kozlowski looks at Coco Gauff's mindset moving into the final today (Source: Koz Kozlowski)

Could the teenager prove that youth can prevail on such a big stage? Tune in at 4pm EST today for the women's US Open final.

Meanwhile, Djokovic is on the hunt to become the oldest man to win the US Open men's singles title in the Open Era.  


Written by Florida Tennis' Executive Editor and Publisher Matt Pressman with photos and commentary from Florida tennis contributor Todd Pechter. Video recap featuring Coco Gauff from Florida Tennis contributor Dave "Koz" Kozlowski. Top photo: Crowds packed Ashe Stadium for the semifinal match between 23 time Grand Slam Champion Novak Djokovic and America's own young upstart, Ben Shelton. The roof was closed due to drizzly/rainy conditions, and while still quite uncomfortable, this did make for less humid conditions than players have experienced the past few days. Photos by Todd Pechter for Florida Tennis

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