U.S. Open: Roger Federer loses to Novak Djokovic in five sets
Roger Federer couldn't convert on two match points while serving in the fifth set and, for the second year in a row, the five-time U.S. Open champion was beaten by Novak Djokovic in the semifinals of the U.S. Open. The top-ranked Djokovic, who is 63-2 on the year, beat Federer, 6-7 (7), 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 7-5 in 3 hours 51 minutes.
Djokovic will play the winner of the second men's semifinal between defending champion Rafael Nadal and fourth-seeded Andy Murray on Monday at 1 p.m. Pacific time.
The fifth set was was even until Federer got a service break in the eighth game. Djokovic sent a forehand long to give Federer a 5-3 lead, and it was in the next game that Federer had two match points. On the first, Djokovic pounded a forehand return winner, raising his racket to his ear while begging the pro-Federer crowd to cheer for him. They did.
Djokovic ended up breaking Federer's serve and then winning the final three games.
The beginning of the match was delayed by about an hour because of rain, but once play started, the sun came out and the conditions quickly became draining with heat and humidity.
There wasn't even a break point in the first set and the crowd was on its feet as the tiebreaker began. Federer took an immediate advantage by winning the first two points and four of the first six. But Federer needed five set points before he won the 55-minute first set.
It was in the second set when Djokovic became out of sorts. He frequently gestured to his own box and when there was someone who became ill at the very top of the stadium, Federer didn't notice the hubbub but Djokovic stopped, looked and asked for play to be held up because the movement was bothering him.
Federer got the break in the second set in the third game when he whipped an elegant forehand up the line. Djokovic did get one break point on Federer's serve but he couldn't convert and soon Federer was up two sets to none. Federer was 182-1 when wins the first two sets. But that loss came at Wimbledon in the quarterfinals to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
In the third set, Djokovic began moving his feet better and hitting deeper. He held serve at love and, with the help of a Federer double fault, finally broke Federer for the first time for a 2-0 lead. In what must have felt like only minutes, Djokovic took the third set.
Federer wiped his face, Djokovic was pumping his fists and Djokovic immediately broke Federer to start the fourth set, keeping Federer pushed back and unable to hit deep enough to the Serb.
When Djokovic consolidated the break for a 2-0 lead and won the first point of the third game, he had taken 12 of 13 points and Federer seemed both baffled and exhausted. When Federer did finally hold to stay down 1-2 in the fourth, Federer yelled, "Come on," one of the few times in the first 2:34 of the match that Federer uttered a sound.
Federer didn't win a point off Djokovic's serve in the fourth set until the final game when Djokovic double faulted and Federer hit a winning forehand. Eventually Djokovic did hold tod win the set, 6-2. After 2:56, the fifth set began.
--Diane Pucin, reporting from New York
Photo: Roger Federer returns a forehand to Novak Djokovic during their U.S. Open quarterfinal match on Saturday in New York. Credit: Charles Krupa / Associated Press