Novak Djokovic, top-ranked when entering the U.S. Open tournament, has survived in a rally to advance to the final match. Djokovich, the Serbian native, defeated Stanislas Wawrinka 2-6, 7-6 (4), 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the semi-finals in order to advance and play against Rafael Nadal in the finals. This will mark his seventh hard-court grand slam final in a row. Nadal defeated his opponent Richard Gasquet 6-4, 7-6 (1), 6-2 in the semi-final match.
This victory ensures that Djokovich will remain at No.1 following the U.S. open. In the match, Djokovich started slowly and continued to play defensively throughout the match. Wawrinka, the Swiss native, surprisingly took a lead at the beginning, defeating Djokovich in the first set. Wawrinka strained his right leg in the fourth set, causing him to leave the match temporarily. After the injury, it seemed that his prospects of upsetting Djokovich were dwindling, mentions Sports Illustrated. Djokovich said that “I just tried to hang on and fight and be mentally tough and believe all the way through [that] I can actually win.”
Djokovich says in an interview that he was not playing as well as he wanted to and gave credit to Wawrinka for playing so aggressive.
Djokovich used his usual relentless defense and contorted his body in order to slide into certain shots during his incredible comeback on Saturday. When he reached the finals in 2012, he lost to Andy Murray, who also defeated him at Wimbledon in July. This was also Djokovich’s 14th consecutive Grand Slam semifinal. It marks a 3 and a half year stretch that is the second longest in history, behind only Roger Federer, according to NBC News. Federer’s record is held at 23.
The semifinal match lasted for 4 hours and 29 minutes. The final match is to be played on Monday, September 9th. It will be the 37th time that Djokovich and Nadal have played each other in the era of the U.S. Open. It is the most between any two males in the tournament, with Nadal currently leading 21-15. Getting ready to face Djokovich makes Nadal happy and he told the LA Times, “He’s an amazing competitor.” Nadal looks forward to the match and after missing the U.S. open last year due to a knee injury, he is now into his 18th Grand Slam-level final.
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