U.S. Open: Novak Djokovic prevails in five sets over Roger Federer
Novak Djokovic saved two match points before beating five-time U.S. Open champion Roger Federer, 5-7, 6-1, 5-7, 6-2, 7-5, Saturday night on the Arthur Ashe Stadium court. Federer beat Djokovic in the Open final three years ago and the second-ranked Swiss eliminated the young Serbian in the semifinals the last two years.
The third-seeded Djokovic will play in his second final here on Sunday, taking on top-seeded Rafael Nadal, who beat Mikhail Youzhny in straight sets the first semifinal on Saturday.
After losing the third set, Djokovic whacked himself on the head five times with his racket and it seemed as if he knocked the tennis sense back into himself even as statistics were being uncovered such as a Nadal-Federer final would mean for the first time in history two opponents would have contested at least one of every major tournament final.
Instead, the 23-year-old Serbian who owns one Australian Open championship, kept hitting massive forehand winners from everywhere.
"It's hard to describe the feeling I have right now," Djokovic said on court after the final point of the 3-hour-44-minute match. "Ten minutes ago I was a point away from losing this match."
On the two match points he saved, Djokovic said, "I'm closing my eyes and hitting as fast as I can. If it goes out, just another loss to Federer at the U.S. Open."
Perhaps the best point played of the tournament came on the second match point that Djokovic saved in the ninth game of the final set, a huge forehand that hit just about every line on the court. And after he saved that point, Djokovic won the next with another forehand winner following a daring drop shot that brought Federer to the net.
Nadal has a career 14-7 advantage over Djokovic. The 24-year-old Spaniard has won eight Grand Slam titles but never a U.S. Open championship.
-- Diane Pucin, reporting from New York
Photo: Novak Djokovic reacts to winning a point against Roger Federer in their U.S. Open semifinal match on Saturday. Credit: Kevin Lamarque / Reuters