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US Open day nine: Djokovic reaches historic semi, Gauff dominates Ostapenko

US Open day nine: Djokovic reaches historic semi, Gauff dominates Ostapenko
© Reuters
Novak Djokovic advances to his 47th Grand Slam semi-final by beating Taylor Fritz at the US Open, while Coco Gauff cruises past Jelena Ostapenko 6-0 6-2.

Novak Djokovic's quest for a 24th Grand Slam title remains alive after the Serbian defeated Taylor Fritz in straight sets during Tuesday's US Open quarter-final.

Djokovic had won all seven of his previous meetings with the American ninth seed, and there was no end to his perennial dominance against Fritz at the Arthur Ashe Stadium, as he won 6-1 6-4 6-4 in two hours and 35 minutes.

A beleaguered Fritz battled hard and bested Djokovic on the winners count with 33 to 25, but the second seed saved 10 of the 12 break points he faced and hit just 26 unforced errors throughout the contest.

In doing so, the 36-year-old became the male player with the most Grand Slam semi-final appearances in the Open Era, progressing to the final four of a major for the 47th time, leaving Roger Federer (46) in his wake.

In addition, Djokovic has also reached the quarter-finals of all major tournaments in a single season for a record sixth time, and standing in his way of a 36th Grand Slam showpiece match is American protege Ben Shelton.

Ben Shelton in action at the US Open on September 6, 2023© Reuters

In an enthralling encounter between two home favourites, Shelton knocked out 10th Frances Tiafoe seed with a 6-2 3-6 7-6[7] 6-2 victory in just over three hours, reaching his first top-level semi-final in the process.

Twenty-year-old Shelton - ranked 47th in the world heading into the final major of the year - stunned Tiafoe with a four-game winning streak in the first set, but it was soon Tiafoe's turn to enjoy a brief period of dominance as he fought his way back into the tie in the second set.

However, Tiafoe's momentum swiftly disappeared as he lost a third-set tie-break and immediately lost his serve in the second set, allowing Shelton to close out the contest with his 50th winner of the night.

In the day's first quarter-final, Coco Gauff reached her maiden US Open semi-final with an emphatic win over Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko, sinking the former French Open winner 6-0 6-2 in just one hour and eight minutes.

In what was only her second straight-sets win at Flushing Meadows this year, an inspired Gauff posted a bagel and lost just seven points against an off-colour Ostapenko, who made a catalogue of mistakes and was a shadow of the player that defeated reigning champion Iga Swiatek in round four.

Coco Gauff reacts at the US Open on September 5, 2023© Reuters

Gauff immediately went a set and a break up following the restart, although she lost her serve for the first time as Ostapenko immediately levelled, only to come from 15-40 down to break the Latvian again.

Ostapenko found some rhythm in the second set, but it was too little too late, as she ended the match with a whopping 36 unforced errors compared to 14 for her teenage opponent, who took six of the seven break points she brought up.

Standing in Gauff's way of a Grand Slam final on home soil is Czech 10th seed Karolina Muchova, who ended Sorana Cirstea's eye-catching run with a 6-0 6-3 triumph over the Romanian 30th seed.

Cirstea was left to rue a disastrous fourth game in the first set, in which she squandered no fewer than seven break points as Muchova posted a bagel, before making things interesting by taking a 2-0 lead in the second set.

However, Muchova quickly rediscovered her groove and won six of the next seven games to make her second Grand Slam semi-final of the year, having progressed to the final of the French Open before losing to Swiatek.

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Iga Swiatek in action at the US Open on August 28, 2023
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