No surprise at U.S. Open: It’s Djokovic vs. NadalNEW YORK - For the 37th time, for the sixth time in a Grand Slam final and for the third time in a U.S. Open decider, Novak Djokovic will play Rafael Nadal in the title game of the season’s last major after the two top seeds won their semifinals on Saturday in contrasting fashion.
Top-seeded Djokovic advanced to his fourth straight U.S. Open final by overcoming the loss of a 21-minute game in the fifth set to defeat Stanislas Wawrinka 2-6, 7-6 (4), 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.
While the Serb, labored, Nadal swept past Richard Gasquet 6-4, 7-6 (1), 6-2.
Nadal extended his streak without losing a service game to 73 before the Frenchman broke him in the fourth game of the second set. Both players held through to the tiebreaker, which Nadal won easily.
The theatrics of the third game of the final set in Djokovic-Wawrinka was so compelling that the game was interrupted twice by standing ovations.
Wawrinka, with his strained right thigh taped after a medical timeout in the fourth set, erased five break points and navigated 12 deuces until finally delivering a service winner to hold for a 2-1 edge. He stepped gingerly to the sideline, plopped down in his chair and smiled.
That grin remained in place throughout the two-minute changeover.
If the ninth-seeded Wawrinka was enjoying the moment, perhaps feeling a tad relieved, Djokovic was ever more determined. He responded by taking the next three games, propelling himself to a fourth consecutive title match at Flushing Meadows and he fifth since 2007.
“I was already quite tired,” said Wawrinka, who won the same number of points in the match as Djokovic, 165. “I was already quite dead physically.”
Djokovic had believed that marathon game would be decisive, even if it proved not.
“I was thinking - I guess everybody was thinking - ‘Whoever wins this game is going to win the match,’” the six-time major champion told the crowd afterward in Arthur Ashe Stadium.
“After he won the game, I thought to myself, ‘OK, I guess I have to fight against those odds.’”