The Serbian Novak Djokovic advanced to his 10th US Open final after a 6-3 6-2 7-6(4) victory over a spirited Ben Shelton on Arthur Ashe.
Djokovic moved a huge step closer to ending his five-year wait for a Grand Slam victory at Flushing Meadows, and progressed to a 36th major final.
He showed his class to power past the big-serving American, who demonstrated plenty of promise and made the 23-time Grand Slam winner sweat with a third-set tie-break.
However, the soon-to-be world No. 1 progressed, and will face the winner of the second semi-final, Daniil Medvedev on Sunday, after he shocked world No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz in their enthralling battle.
Djokovic held his opening game, but Shelton showcased arguably the most powerful skill in his armoury with that incredibly fast second serve.
It registered at 138mph and was enough to immediately draw parity with a hold to love, before Djokovic responded with another service hold of his own.
The 20-year-old was broken for the first time in the sixth game to give Djokovic a 4-2 lead, as two sloppy forehand shots and an attempted drop-shot which fell short proved to be his downfall.
Shelton was heading into a downward spiral as Djokovic claimed another commanding hold, but the young American’s response was admirable.
He staved off four set points and reduced the arrears with another show-stopping serve, but this only delayed the inevitable.
Djokovic hit a forehand wide to leave him facing a break point, but some more unforced errors from Shelton allowed the Serb to draw first blood in the contest on his fifth set point.
Shelton produced brilliant moments with nowhere near enough consistency to seriously challenge Djokovic, as another mammoth second serve helped him out of trouble to hold in the first game of the second set.
That was one of four consecutive games that went with serve, before Shelton was broken for the second time in the match. It was a gung-ho approach that Djokovic exploited, as the Serb prevailed on his second break point after a double fault at 3-2.
Those unforced errors continued to haunt the American, with Djokovic increasing his lead to 5-2 after Shelton hit a cross-court backhand way off the court.
The 23-time Grand Slam winner would hold again to 30 and move one set away from victory, but Shelton was in no mood to roll over.
Despite being broken again in the first game and another Djokovic hold to start the third set, Shelton showcased his immense power with a smash to secure a hold to 15 at 2-1, and pegged Djokovic back again with a superb backhand down the line at 3-2.
It was a topsy-turvy third set, and after another Djokovic hold at 4-2, Shelton amazingly dragged the Serb back to 4-4 – as both players produced moments of brilliance.
A fine hold was followed by a break back as a stunning forehand lured Djokovic into an uncharacteristic error into the net, before he a hit a forehand long.
Shelton took the lead with another superb ace and a trademark ferocious serve, before Djokovic restored parity and then took a hold to 15.
But this thrilling contest still had another chance to enthrall, as Djokovic squandered his first match point and we would go to a third-set tie-break.
The Serb would eventually prevail 7-4 in the tie-break to set up a meeting with Medvedev in Sunday’s final.
Speaking after his victory, Djokovic said: “These are the kind of matches and occasions that I still thrive on and get me going and inspire me to try and work as hard as the young guys.
“Grand Slams are the ones that motivate me the most to play my best tennis. I knew prior to the quarter-finals and semi-finals that I would play an American player, obviously I had to hold the nerves and be composed in the moments that really matter.
“Things were going really smoothly for me, and then he broke back and it was really anybody’s game at the end of the third set. It was very loud in this place with the roof closed, but this is the kind of atmosphere we all like to play in.
“I’m really pleased with this win today.”
He said there were plenty of times when Sinner put him under pressure but he couldn’t make it count.
Djokovic said that this is the key to tennis, taking the opportunities when they present themselves.
Speaking to reporters after the match, Djokovic said: “Each set was closer than it appears maybe on the scoreboard.
“I knew that he is going to try to be aggressive and hit from both forehand and backhand quite flat and fast, so I needed to be really sharp from the beginning, which I think I have.
“I think I found the right shots at the right time. Serve was kind of going up and down, but I managed to make him play always an extra shot, especially towards the end of the match.
“Yeah, he basically made some unforced errors to give me the victory in the tiebreak. Also he was two set points up in the third. But that’s tennis, obviously. That pressure point moments, it’s not easy to play the shots that you desire.
“So it was, of course, great for me that I was able to finish the job in straight sets.”
Djokovic said that he doesn’t feel any different as he chases a record 24th Grand Slam title as he is always focused on winning tournaments and winning all his matches.
“To be honest with you, I don’t feel much difference,” Djokovic added in the media briefing.
“Ambition is always the highest for me: always to win the title. It’s not changing regardless of the place in history books.