Djokovic Beats Millman, Keys Stops Suarez Navarro to Gain Final Four at US Open
(September 6, 2018) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY-No. 6 seed Novak Djokovic has reached his 11th US Open final beating No. 55 John Millman of Australia 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.
“I think, alongside many other people, anticipating the match against Federer, and it was a surprise to see Millman win the match,” Djokovic said. “But I watched the second part of the match, and, I mean, Roger was not playing well. It was not his day. He was missing a lot.
“But Millman is the kind of a player that makes you miss the balls, you know, and makes you win the point, earn the point. He doesn’t miss a lot himself, so he just runs left, right, gets a lot of balls. Very slow conditions, slow balls, and he just gets a lot of balls back.
“So in a way, tactically, you’ve got to kind of find the right balance between, you know, being patient but constructive in the point, but at the same time, be aggressive and take the chance when you have a shorter ball. It’s easier said than done, especially these kind of conditions.”
The score line looks as though Djokovic had an easy time with the Australian that beat Roger Federer in the fourth round. However, the Serbian who hit 53 unforced errors, was only 4 for 20 on break points and had to see the trainer for some nose drops due to the heat and humidity.
The 13-time major champion praised his opponent as Millman was leaving the court: “He’s had an amazing tournament. He won his first quarter-final against Roger (Federer) a couple of nights ago.”
“To come out after that win and to fight for three hours, he deserves a round of applause, definitely.”
Djokovic will face No. 21 seed Kei Nishkori in the semifinals. Four years ago, Nishikori upset Djokovic in the final four to reach the final.
“I played him once I think since I changed to Lacoste from Uniqlo, so I think Uniqlo was the key of the success,” Djokovic aid jokingly.
“Anyway, he’s got one of the best two-handed backhands in the game and very quick. If not “the” quickest, then one of the quickest players on the tour. Has phenomenal footwork. But, you know, I have played him recently in quarters of Wimbledon. Tough couple, first two sets. Then after that I felt like third and fourth I played very well. I raised my game.
“But, you know, we faced each other many times in different tournaments. I have lost — probably the biggest match I lost against him was here back in 2014, I think, in semis. But he loves playing here obviously.
“He had a tough one today against Cilic and managed to pull that, you know, prevail in that match, which was quite impressive.”
“You know, he’s known to be a very disciplined guy. Works hard. Very talented. Has got Michael Chang in his corner. Has a very good team. Good working ethics. I think he was challenged a lot with injuries throughout his career. That hasn’t helped him, you know. But when he’s on, he’s definitely a top-5, top-10 player. There is no doubt he’s won big tournaments, been in the final stages of slams and he has experience. I’m expecting a tough one.”
“Well, we had some matches where I won in straight sets, but we had, you know, some, a lot of matches, especially on clay courts where it went the distance where a couple of points really decided the winner. In Rome we played couple matches there. This year he was close to be the winner of that match.
“I mean, I can’t really say he’s a great matchup for me. I have a very good head-to-head score against him. But you’re right, because he plays so fast, he makes me more alert from the first point, because I know I have to be at my best in order to compete with him from the baseline.”
Madison Keys, the 14th seed took Out 30th seed Carla Suarez Navarro 6-4, 6-3 in the earlier part of night session, basically overpowering the Spaniard, who beat Maria Sharapova in the fourth round.
“I think that I am doing whatever I can to put myself in the position to go deeper into slams.” said Keys. “I think I’m feeling more comfortable in those big moments and like matches like tonight.
“So I think just, you know, training hard the week before and trying to not put too much pressure on myself has really helped me do that.”
“I have had some big moments that before I was losing and was probably putting too much pressure on myself and all of that, so just learning from those experiences, you know, just having a better mentality about the whole situation and remembering what my game plan is and just focusing on that instead of the actual occasion.”
Keys will play Naomi Osaka for a place in the final. Keys had a dramatic come from behind win over Osaka in 2016, winning six straight games after being down 1-5 in the third set.
“That was definitely a match that was — I think we both had some very highs and lows during that match where one was playing well, one wasn’t. One was down, one was emotionally high.
“That I think was probably the first time I had been on Ashe and had to learn how to use the crowd. So it was definitely something that I have learned from, and I have used — I know now to, you know, as a home favorite, to let myself let the crowd in and let them help me in all of that.
“In that aspect, it was a learning experience. As far as was it a massive match for me, I think there has been a lot of matches now for me at this slam, but that’s definitely still always going to be something that I remember.”