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Djokovic reaches his 10th U.S. Open final by beating Ben Shelton in straight sets

Novak Djokovic is back in the U.S. Open final for a record-tying 10th time after a 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (4) victory Friday over unseeded American Ben Shelton at a tournament the 23-time Grand Slam champion missed last year because he is not vaccinated against COVID-19.

Shelton made things interesting in the third set, lifting his level of play as Djokovic seemed to get a bit tight as the finish line approached. Shelton broke twice, even held a set point at 5-4 and erased a match point on the way to forcing the concluding tiebreaker. But Djokovic pulled out the win there, then mimicked Shelton's “Hang up the phone!” celebration gesture.

Djokovic, a 36-year-old from Serbia, will seek a fourth trophy from Flushing Meadows on Sunday and would be the oldest man to win the event in the Open era, which began in 1968. In the final, he will face either defending champion Carlos Alcaraz — who defeated Djokovic for the Wimbledon title in July — or 2021 U.S. Open champ Daniil Medvedev.

If Djokovic does end up leaving with the hardware, he would break a tie with Serena Williams for the most major singles championships in the Open era.

Regardless of Sunday’s opponent or outcome, No. 2 seed Djokovic will replace No. 1 Alcaraz atop the ATP rankings on Monday.

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