photo credit:The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
5-time US Open singles champion Roger Federer was playing for a spot in his 7th straight final at the US Open against No.3 seed Novak Djokovic who was playing in his 4th consecutive US Open semi final. Djokovic was the US Open runner-up in 2007 and was locking horns with Federer for the 4th straight year going in with a 0-3 record.
This year was set to be their best encounter yet and both players lived up to these expectations over the course of 5 sets with both players having at least 1 match point deep in the 5th and final set. The match went for 3 hours and 44 minutes on Arthur Ashe Stadium with the winner to play against World No.1 Rafael Nadal in the Men’s Singles Final, which is scheduled to begin at 4pm New York time on Sunday 12 September.
The 1.88m Djokovic served the first game of the match and went down 15-40 to face 2 break points with the 1.85m Federer trying to send a message that he had beaten Djokovic in their first 3 matches at the US Open and today was going to be just the same. The 2008 Australian Open singles champion saved both break points then both players traded service game holds through to 3-2.
Djokovic earned triple break point against the 16-time Grand Slam singles champion who responded with a pair of aces both out wide. The Serbian converted his 3rd break point by dictating a baseline rally with a series of down the line shots ending through a backhand down-the-line approach then picking off the the down-the-line passing shot with a short angled cross-court backhand volley winner to go ahead 4-2.
The 23 year old Djokovic double faulted at 30 all whilst trying to go ahead 5-2 then Federer powered a backhand down the line approach then volleyed the reply for a winner into the open court to break back. Games went with serve to 5 all then the 29 year old Federer broke Djokovic a second time to serve for the first set. At double set point Djokovic took the 2nd serve early with his backhand for a clean winner through Federer’s forehand corner. Federer attacked the net with an approach then volleyed to force the error for 7-5 in 51 minutes.
Djokovic served first again holding serve then Federer took a 40-15 lead before Djokovic converted his first break point of the set and held for 3-0. Two service holds followed before Djokovic brought up break point by playing a slice backhand drop shot down the line, which Federer hit into the net with his forehand. A Federer unforced error with his single handed backhand gave Djokovic the double break and at 5-1 he successfully served out the set in 26 minutes after converting the first point at double set point.
Federer served first in the 3rd set and held firm to steady the flow of play that was going his opponent’s way. In fact both players traded service holds without giving their opponent a chance to break serve. At 5-6 Djokovic was serving to force a tie-break when Federer reverted to way he used to play all of his big matches, by dictating all 4 points and taking the match by the throat when it counted to break to love and go ahead by 2 sets-to-one.
Once again when the momentum and level of play seemed to be in the control of one player the opponent fought back in a great battle between two champions. Djokovic converted 2 of his 4 break points that he had against Federer’s serve and did not offer his opponent a single break point opportunity, to level the match at 2 sets all by winning 6-2 in 31 minutes.
The 5th set is what the crowd, television spectators and Nadal wanted to see as he was resting up for the final. Federer had the advantage of serving first in the deciding set, which he made the most of after both players traded service games holds without giving their opponent a break point opportunity for 9 games. At 5-4 Federer knew that he could go after his opponent who had to hold serve or lose the match. The pressure was on Djokovic and Federer turned it up further going to 15-40 and holding 2 consecutive match points.
More details about the final set of the 2nd semi final to follow ASAP…
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