We have arrived at the US Open men’s semifinals and everyone who reached the semis did their job except for fourth-seed Holger Rune. This year’s semis are fascinating because we could see a finals match between Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz, a former US Open champion (Daniil Medvedev) breakthrough, or a young American (Ben Shelton) stake his claim as being one of the best young players on the tour. Anything is possible.
Maybe most fans want to see a Djokovic and Alcaraz final. That’s the best show in the sport right now. And we might still be waiting for the official changing of the guard atop men’s tennis as after Alcaraz defeated Djokovic in the Wimbledon final, Djoko then beat Alcaraz in the final of the Western and Southern Open.
But Medvedev knows how to win the US Open and he knows how to defeat Djokovic in the final. He did so in straight sets in 2021. While Medvedev struggles on clay, he is a beast on hard courts and the surface of Arthur Ashe Stadium is indeed a hard one.
Ben Shelton is a 20-year-old left-hander who is just beginning to realize how good he is. Does he have a real chance to win the US Open? Maybe. Who would have guessed he would have made it this far?
Predicting the 2023 US Open men’s semifinals
Second-seed Novak Djokovic versus Ben Shelton
As great as the tournament was going for American men, only one made it through to the semis and Shelton was one of the more surprising names people might have thought of. He’s good, but he hasn’t accomplished anything in his short career so far. He hasn’t made a final on the ATP tour. Yet.
Does the lefty stand a chance against Djokovic? The two have never faced each other so at least for Shelton Djokovic doesn’t already know how to attack him. But Shelton playing Djokovic in Shelton’s first Grand Slam semi is like a person learning to drive deciding to take part in the Indianapolis 500 and thinking they can win. That’s not going to happen.
Prediction: Djokovic in straight sets
Third-seed Daniil Medvedev versus top-seed Carlos Alcaraz
Both Alcaraz (2022) and Medvedev have won the US Open so they should know how to deal with the crowd and potential heat at 4 pm ET on a Sunday afternoon. Luckily for Medvedev, he gets a day’s break between his quarterfinal win and his semifinal match. Due to the heat, Medvedev looked exhausted by the end of his straight-set victory over Andrey Rublev.
Alcaraz and Medvedev have played three times, and the Spaniard leads the head-to-head 2-1. But Medvedev beat Alcaraz at Wimbledon in 2021 and hasn’t come close to winning a set off of Alcaraz in the last two meetings. If Alcaraz is on, Medvedev has no chance. I am guessing Medvedev wins a set in the US Open semis, but that’s being charitable.
Prediction: Alcaraz in four sets