Novak Djokovic now holds most Grand Slam quarterfinals victories with win over Taylor Fritz at US Open

There are levels to this.

The American men have been lauded for their breakthrough U.S. Open with three representatives in the quarterfinals, the most since 2005. But in a sport that almost always separates the titans from the peripherals, there’s a big difference between winning a few rounds and hoisting a major trophy.

Novak Djokovic reinforced that Tuesday by steamrolling top American Taylor Fritz at Ashe Stadium, 6-1, 6-4, 6-4. The Serbian, who surpassed Roger Federer for the most Grand Slam quarterfinals victories in history (47), will face another American in Friday’s semifinal, whether it’s Frances Tiafoe or Ben Shelton.

Those two faced off Tuesday night.

Fritz, seeded ninth, was always considered a longshot against Djokovic, who missed last year’s tournament in Flushing because he refused a COVID-19 vaccination. But Fritz was peeved about his first serve, which only landed at a 55% clip. He was broken six times by Djokovic, and the post-match presser dripped with disappointment.

“I thought I served awful. It sucks,” Fritz said.

Fritz got away with spotty service in the previous rounds. Against Djokovic, it’s non-negotiable.

“In the other matches, I can afford to not serve so well because I can serve a second serve and they can hit the return, and I still like my chances of winning the point,” Fritz said. “That’s not something that you can do against Novak. I can’t consistently expect to beat him in baseline rallies.”

Indeed, Fritz didn’t win those rallies. He committed 51 unforced errors, nearly double that of Djokovic. The humidity was also an issue that Fritz said was exacerbated by the stadium roof being partially closed to shade the spectators.

“I think that made it less hot but a lot more humid inside the stadium,” he said.

The only moment of drama was in the third set, when Djokovic got annoyed because a supporter in his friends & family box shouted during a crucial point.

Djokovic lost that point — and the game — which prompted him to yell and wave at the stands in anger. About an hour later, Djokovic laughed off the incident because he won the next three games and the match.

“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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