Novak Djokovic mocks Ben Shelton as he reaches US Open final – latest reaction

Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates his victory against Ben Shelton of the United States during their Men's Singles Semifinal match on Day Twelve of the 2023 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 08, 2023 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City

Djokovic used Shelton’s signature celebration after beating his opponent – Getty Images/Mike Stobe

11:15 PM BST

Spot the difference…

Novak Djokovic mocks Ben Shelton as he reaches US Open final

Novak Djokovic celebrates his victory against Ben Shelton – Getty Images/Mike Stobe

Novak Djokovic mocks Ben Shelton as he reaches US Open final

Ben Shelton’s celebration against Frances Tiafoe on Tuesday – Reuters/Mike Segar

11:07 PM BST

Twitter is divided on that celebration from Djokovic

11:01 PM BST

Cheeky from Djokovic

After the final point, Djokovic copied Shelton’s phone celebration from the quarter-finals. Very cold handshake between the two players too.

Petty move from the 23-time grand slam champion.

10:57 PM BST

Djokovic 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 Shelton – TIEBREAK

Djokovic forehand long, 5-2. Lengthy rally and Djokovic flicks a backhand wide, 5-3. Djokovic backhand long, 5-4.

Amazing from Djokovic to stand his ground and Shelton’s audacious behind-the-back effort goes wide, 6-4.

Shelton forehand into the net, 7-4. GAME SET MATCH DJOKOVIC!

10:51 PM BST

Djokovic 6-3, 6-2, 6-6 Shelton – TIEBREAK

Shelton volleys long after a low backhand return from Djokovic, 1-0. Shelton forehand return into the net, 2-0. Djokovic forehand volley winner, 3-0. 

Djokovic steps in on a short ball but nets a forehand, 3-1. Shelton overhits a backhand, 4-1. Groans from the crowd.

Djokovic volley winner, 5-1.

10:47 PM BST

Djokovic 6-3, 6-2, 6-6 Shelton*

Shelton attacks Djokovic’s second serve and the Serbian can’t get his forehand over the net, 0-15 Djokovic double fault, 15-30. Even the best players in the world get nervous…

Tentative tennis from Djokovic and he flicks a forehand long, two break points. Shelton has a look at a backhand pass and should make it but the ball drops in the tramlines.

Inch perfect from Djokovic as he whips a forehand down the line for a winner, deuce. Shelton forehand into the net, match point.

Djokovic forehand error after great patience from Shelton again. Another break point for Shelton after Djokovic nets a backhand.

WOW. Djokovic has the point in his hands but a good lob from Shelton and Djokovic nets an overhead smash. Really poor shot but it means we have a tiebreak.

10:37 PM BST

Djokovic* 6-3, 6-2, 6-5 Shelton

Fine margins in tennis and Shelton pushes it when he puts a forehand long, 15-30. Another forehand error by Shelton, two break points.

Shelton drop shot, a shot hasn’t hit well all match, and Djokovic punishes him by sprinting up to it and flicks a backhand pass into the open court. Djokovic breaks and will serve for a place in the final.

10:34 PM BST

Djokovic 6-3, 6-2, 5-5 Shelton*

Forehand from Djokovic goes wide, 15-30. Shelton starts patiently, sees the opening to pull the trigger with his forehand but the ball lands in the tramlines, 30-30. Djokovic backhand hits the net cord and the ball drops just wide, set point Shelton…

Timely first serve by Djokovic to snuff out the chance for Shelton. Great stuff from him under pressure. Shelton is scrambling for every ball as Djokovic dictates from the baseline, pulling him from side to side.

But Djokovic holds firm, holds serve and keeps himself in the set.

10:23 PM BST

Djokovic* 6-3, 6-2, 4-5 Shelton

Wowzers. Blistering forehand winner on the run from Shelton catches the line, 30-0. That had to be 100mph+ easily.

DJOKOVIC WINNER AROUND THE NET POST. Ridiculous speed and finish from the Serbian, 30-15. Shelton forehand into the net, 30-30. He needs his first serve to rescue him here.

And he finds a 133mph ace down the T, 40-30. 145mph ace down the T and the American forces Djokovic to serve to stay in the set.

10:17 PM BST

Djokovic 6-3, 6-2, 4-4 Shelton*

In fairness to Shelton, he’s still pumping himself up whenever he forces Djokovic into a mistake. But he follows that with more errors.

Another patient rally by Shelton, 30 shots, he doesn’t go for too much and after reaching a Djokovic drop shot, Shelton finishes with an overhead winner, 30-30. Djokovic forehand into the net, break point Shelton. Just his second of the match…

Djokovic misses a first serve, the crowd cheers…Djokovic forehand long and Shelton breaks back. We’re level at 4-4. Well done young man.

10:10 PM BST

Djokovic* 6-3, 6-2, 4-3 Shelton

Shelton has hit too many shots that he hasn’t expected to come back. But that’s because he isn’t playing the likes of Djokovic regularly. But he hangs on here with a service hold to 30 after a forehand winner.

10:07 PM BST

Djokovic 6-3, 6-2, 4-2 Shelton*

A 20th forehand unforced error from Shelton makes it 30-0. Eight in the set. These aren’t numbers that will help you beat Djokovic I’m afraid. Djokovic holds serve again with an ace.

10:03 PM BST

Djokovic* 6-3, 6-2, 3-2 Shelton

Shelton has been very confident under the high ball and again he finishes with a drive forehand, 30-15. 106mph wide ace from Shelton swings away from Djokovic, 40-15.

Wow. Djokovic shows off his power with a brilliant forehand winner down the line, deuce. Umpteenth volley from Shelton goes long, break point Djokovic. Saved by Shelton with a 143mph ace. And Shelton holds to keep himself in the set.

09:57 PM BST

Djokovic 6-3, 6-2, 3-1 Shelton*

Djokovic forehand winner into the corner to start the game. Longest rally of the match, 22 shots, Shelton finally shows some patience to hit with Djokovic, who hits a drop shot which Shelton reaches and responds with a drop shot of his own that Djokovic can’t get back into play.

Shelton steps in on a Djokovic second serve and hits a backhand return winner, his first of the match, 15-30. Defensive Shelton forehand goes long, 30-30. Djokovic overhead smash winner takes him to 40-30. But Shelton makes it deuce with a lovely drop volley winner.

Djokovic holds again after Shelton pushes a backhand volley long.

09:49 PM BST

Djokovic* 6-3, 6-2, 2-1 Shelton

Shelton usually wins around 80 per cent of points on his first serve but Djokovic has done a brilliant job of dropping that number to 53 per cent today.

He holds to 15 here with an overhead smash winner but the look on his face suggests he knows this match will be over soon.

09:46 PM BST

Djokovic 6-3, 6-2, 2-0 Shelton*

Djokovic backs up the break with a service hold to 15. Too ruthless and clinical from the second seed today.

09:43 PM BST

Third Set: Djokovic* 6-3, 6-2, 1-0 Shelton (*denotes next server)

A change of outfit for Shelton at the start of this set. Will it lead to a remarkable recovery? I’m not hopeful.

But a forehand winner down the line makes it 40-15 for Shelton. But a 138mph second serve goes wide and means he double faults, deuce.

Shelton forehand shank, break point. Djokovic forehand passing shot beats Shelton at the net and that’s another break for the Serbian. Terrible game from Shelton.

09:34 PM BST

Djokovic 6-3, 6-2 Shelton*

The errors continue to cost Shelton dearly and Djokovic moves to 0-30. But a Djokovic forehand goes long to keep the game interesting, 15-30.

Brilliant wide serve from Djokovic swings away from Shelton, 40-30. Shelton backhand return into the net and the 23-time grand slam champion takes a commanding lead.

09:28 PM BST

Djokovic* 6-3, 5-2 Shelton

Djokovic has Shelton on a string, moving him left then right before hitting a delicate drop shot winner, 15-15. Shelton closes the net well but puts his backhand volley wide, 15-30. He responds with a timely big first serve and finishes with a forehand winner, 30-30.

Too casual from Shelton with a drop shot, telegraphed it so much, Djokovic takes off after it and flicks a backhand winner down the line, break point. Big forehand down the line by Shelton and Djokovic can’t get the ball back into play, deuce.

Shelton forehand into the net, his 10th unforced error of the set, gives Djokovic his second break point of the game. And it’s saved again by Shelton with an overhead winner.

A tired looking forehand into the net from Shelton, third break point. Great hustle from Djokovic, he makes Shelton hit another ball and the American miscues a backhand wide. Double break for Djokovic secured.

09:19 PM BST

Djokovic 6-3, 4-2 Shelton*

Shelton is in constant dialogue with his support box. New tactics are definitely needed because what he’s done so far isn’t working apart from a couple of entertaining moments. And that’s not enough to beat a player as mentally tough as Djokovic.

Djokovic holds to 30 when Shelton’s forehand down the line goes long.

09:13 PM BST

Djokovic* 6-3, 3-2 Shelton

Shelton whips a forehand into the tramlines, 0-30. Problems for the American here.

Another wild forehand by Shelton goes wide, 15-40. Big trouble now. He saves the first with a huge forehand winner that barely caught the baseline. He was living dangerously there.

Shelton goes for a big second serve but misses to concede the break with a double fault. Djokovic didn’t have to do much but he’s breaks again.

09:09 PM BST

Djokovic 6-3, 2-2 Shelton*

Shelton gets the crowd on their feet after lobbing Djokovic at the net and finishing with a high backhand volley, 30-30.

Great change up from Djokovic as he serves and volleys away a winner, 40-30. Wild Shelton return and Djokovic holds again. Djokovic is unfazed by the injection of power from Shelton. He’s all business today.

Novak Djokovic vs Ben Shelton live: Score and latest US Open semi-final updates

Ben Shelton looks on between points – Getty Images/Mike Stobe

09:03 PM BST

Djokovic* 6-3, 1-2 Shelton

A rare love hold for Shelton. But Djokovic does keep getting his returns in play so the American can’t rest on his laurels.

09:00 PM BST

Djokovic 6-3, 1-1 Shelton*

Terrific anticipation from Djokovic to get himself out of trouble after a cute drop shot from Shelton and finish with an overhead smash winner.

Djokovic holds to 15 when Shelton nets a forehand return.

08:57 PM BST

Second Set: Djokovic* 6-3, 0-1 Shelton (*denotes next server)

Must win set for Shelton if he wants to win this match. No chance of him coming back from two sets down. His inexperience is telling at this stage of the match as he tries to blast his way out of trouble. But he continues to make errors and a forehand into the tramlines gives Djokovic a break point.

Shelton saves it with a drive forehand winner to his credit. Shelton hits a 144mph first serve but the ball is long, he then hits a 143mph second serve and finishes with a forehand winner.

08:50 PM BST

Djokovic 6-3 Shelton*

First point for Shelton on the Djokovic serve since the opening game when the Serbian misses with a backhand down the line, 15-15.

Rare unforced error for Djokovic as he nets a mid-court forehand, 30-30. Can Shelton make the most of this slight opening?

Djokovic forehand into the tramlines, break point Shelton. I didn’t see this coming… Chance for Shelton as he gets a mid-court ball and runs around his backhand but nets a forehand. Bad miss that.

Set point No 5 for Djokovic after Shelton goes long with a forehand. Shelton goes for too much on his forehand and nets.

Djokovic in control.

08:44 PM BST

Djokovic* 5-3 Shelton

Djokovic’s class is telling here. He passes Shelton at the net with a backhand pass, 0-30. Shelton forehand down the line clips the net and the ball bounces long, three set points.

Shelton saves the first with a 135mph first serve. Then the second when Djokovic’s return goes wide. And the third when Djokovic’s forehand goes wide. Set point No 4 coming up after Shelton hits a forehand long. He saves it again with an overhead winner.

140mph first serve from Shelton, Djokovic nets his return and Shelton survives for now.

Novak Djokovic vs Ben Shelton live: Score and latest US Open semi-final updates

Novak Djokovic returns a shot to Ben Shelto – AP/Frank Franklin II

08:38 PM BST

Djokovic 5-2 Shelton*

This is a huge step up in class for Shelton, who has never played Djokovic before and he is being found out right now. The unforced error count is killing him at the moment because Djokovic is rock solid.

Another love hold for Djokovic to consolidate the break.

08:36 PM BST

Djokovic* 4-2 Shelton

Shanked return from Djokovic drops in, Shelton tries to go around the net post but the ball lands in the tramlines, 0-30.

Drop shot into the net from Shelton, 15-40. Big problems for Shelton, needs his serve to bail him out.

Shelton serves and volleys but puts his volley into the tramlines and Djokovic breaks. He got every return into play in that game.

He’s just too good.

08:33 PM BST

Djokovic 3-2 Shelton*

Another routine love service hold for Djokovic. He’s won 9/9 points on his first serve and getting 64 per cent into play. Shelton has won just 2/14 points on the Djokovic serve

08:29 PM BST

Djokovic* 2-2 Shelton

133mph ace from Shelton moves him to 40-15. The positive for Djokovic is that he’s getting his racket on these serves. Eventually, he will work out Shelton’s serving patterns.

But for now, Shelton holds again.

Novak Djokovic vs Ben Shelton live: Score and latest US Open semi-final updates

Ben Shelton returns a shot against Novak Djokovic – Getty Images/Sarah Stier

08:24 PM BST

Djokovic 2-1 Shelton*

A love hold for Djokovic. Shelton must keep these service games interesting to avoid the pressure building on his own serve.

08:22 PM BST

Djokovic* 1-1 Shelton

126mph first serve to open the match from Shelton and Djokovic can’t get the ball back in play. Shelton then goes up to 136mph and again Djokovic’s return is long.

99mph first serve from Shelton as he mixes it up, 40-0. Oh my goodness. He then hits a 138mph SECOND SERVE. That’s outrageous. Everyone is keeping their eye on the speed clock.

08:20 PM BST

First Set: Novak Djokovic 1-0 Ben Shelton* (*denotes next server)

Early sign of Shelton’s forehand power as he rifles a shot into the corner and finishes with a volley winner, 15-15.

Shelton attacks Djokovic’s second serve and finishes with an overhead winner, 15-30. Aggressive start from the young American.

Forehand into the net from Shelton and Djokovic holds to 30.

08:12 PM BST

Here come the players

Great reception for both players under a closed roof!

Inclement weather means the tournament officials have opted to close the roof. 75 per cent humidity.

08:05 PM BST

Who is Ben Shelton?

Shelton has tennis in the family. His father – former world No 55 Bryan Shelton – is his coach, and offers calm nuggets of wisdom from the player box. His mother was also a highly ranked junior, while his sister competed at college level.

As a child, Shelton wanted to be an NFL quarterback, and his powerful throwing arm has enabled his serve to push the speed gun up to an extraordinary 149mph – the highest figure in the tournament.

He is an electric mover whose left-handedness is an added advantage, even if most pundits would expect him to prove too raw to upset Djokovic.

Read more here about the new star of US tennis.

Novak Djokovic vs Ben Shelton live: Score and latest US Open semi-final updates

Can Ben Shelton cause a huge upset? – Getty Images/Lev Radin

07:54 PM BST

Salisbury achieves US Open three-peat

By Simon Briggs in New York

British doubles specialist Joe Salisbury made history on Arthur Ashe Stadium with his American partner Rajeev Ram. Together, this pair combined to claim their third successive US Open title – a feat not achieved since World War One.

Salisbury – who now has four major doubles titles, or six if you include the mixed events – appeared to be sobbing into his towel at the conclusion of the match.

The match was distinguished by a fine piece of sportsmanship from the opposing team of Australia’s Matt Ebden and India’s Rohan Bopanna. When an Ebden forehand grazed Bopanna’s elbow on its way across the court, no-one else – including the chair umpire – was any the wiser. But Bopanna immediately confessed to the faint touch and thus forfeited the point.

Ram was quick to acclaim Bopanna in his speech at the presentation ceremony. “That act of sportsmanship, what he did out on the court, we’ve been playing for the better part of 20 to 25 years on tour, and I’ve never seen anything like that, especially on an occasion like this. I would have never known. Bops, you’re an inspiration to all of us.”

This has been a quietish season overall for Salisbury and Ram, by their usual high standards, with their only previous title coming on the clay of Lyon. But this victory has boosted them into sixth place on the rankings, and thus should earn them a berth at November’s ATP Finals event in Turin.

“This partnership is really special,” said Salisbury, who is 31. “It’s been five years and we’ve got really close. It’s pretty surreal being out here on this court, and we don’t take it for granted.”

Although Ram’s serve was broken in the opening game of the match – which effectively cost the first set – he and Salisbury regrouped and eventually came through by a 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 scoreline.

07:47 PM BST

How will Djokovic cope with Shelton’s serve today?

07:41 PM BST

US Open beefs up security with NYPD after lacklustre response to eco-protesters

By Simon Briggs in New York

The New York Police Department will provide an expanded security presence at the US Open after the climate change protest which held up play on Arthur Ashe Stadium for 49 minutes on Thursday night.

Four protesters disrupted play on Thursday, shouting out “Stop fossil fuels” during Coco Gauff’s semi-final against Karolina Muchova. Three of them were ushered out of the stadium by security staff but the fourth glued his bare feet to the concrete. Acetone – the substance used in nail-polish remover – had to be applied in order to free him, and this was the main cause of the delay.

Read more here.

07:28 PM BST

A battle of generations

07:20 PM BST

US Open betting offers and free bets

Take a look at these free bets and betting offers to use throughout the tournament.

07:10 PM BST

Men’s semi-final

Hello and welcome to coverage of the first men’s semi-final between Novak Djokovic and Ben Shelton.

Djokovic is the clear favourite to reach a tenth final in New York having won titles in 2011, 2015 and 2018 and runner-up on six other occasions.

Shelton possesses one of the best serves of the tournament having hit 76 aces and a top speed of 149 mph (240 kph). But against Djokovic, he plays the best returner in the history of the sport, who has won 44 per cent of his opponent’s service games.

“Whenever you play somebody for the first time, and someone who has been in this situation so many times and come out victorious so many times, that’s in the back of your head. You just know how rock-solid the guy is and how mentally tough, how physically tough. So that’s definitely something that I have to game plan for,” said Shelton, who had never traveled outside the United States until the beginning of this year and reached the quarter-finals at the Australian Open in January.

“I also think that it’s an advantage with my game style playing someone who’s never played me before. I think that I can bring some things to the table that maybe you don’t see in your normal match.

“So I’m definitely going to try to bring some things to the table that are different and hopefully disruptive on Friday.”

Shelton is sure to have the majority of the support being the home favourite but Djokovic is ready for the partisan crowd.

“Sometimes you react, but most of the time you don’t. I speak for myself,” Djokovic said. “Obviously there is whatever percent of the time you don’t react. People speak, they move around. You’ve got to be ready for that, particularly in US Open, especially in the night sessions.

“It just, you know, that’s part of it. It’s part of the sport, and I don’t, you know, mostly I don’t mind it, but, you know, in those important moments when you’re all of a sudden under a lot of stress and you’re facing a breakpoint and then all of a sudden everything annoys you and distracts you, so then you react.

“But that’s, again, heat of the moment, and playing on the highest level. You know, crowd — I’m actually glad the crowd wants to get into it, because it means that the match is interesting, that they want to be part of it. That they’re having fun. At the end of the day, they pay tickets to come and watch you play, so we try to put on a show and perform for them so they go back home, you know, satisfied that they have been here and enjoyed their day.”

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