By Tennis Panorama News
FLUSHING MEADOWS, New York – Novak Djokovic rallies from match points down to oust Roger Federer again, Rafael Nadal tames Andy Murray, Serena Williams dominates No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki and Samantha Stosur gets past Angelique Kerber on day 13 of the US Open.
Deja vu all over again
In last year’s US Open semifinal against Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic rallied from two match points down to take the match from the Swiss in five. 2010 meet 2011 – Djokovic came back from two sets to none down and two match point to stop Federer again – 6-7 (7), 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 7-5 in three hour and 51 minutes.
The shot of the match came as Federer held two match points at 5-3, 40-15 of the fifth set, Djokovic unleashed a forehand crosscourt return winner which kissed the line and sent spectators into a frenzy.
“Yeah, I tend to do that on match points,” said Djokovic. “It kinda works. (Smiling.) No, it was a very similar situation like last year. I had to take my chances. I was very close to being on my way back home. He was serving. He was 40-15 up. Yeah, I mean, I managed to hit that amazing forehand return which got me back. I got a little bit of energy from the crowd, and I fighted back. I needed to stay positive, and I definitely didn’t want French Open to happen again. It was incredible last two games.
“Well, if you’re playing somebody like Roger, you have to take your chances when they’re presented; otherwise you’re losing a match. I don’t want to say, yeah, I’ve been in control of the fifth set, because that’s not true. He was serving for the match. He was match points, and I could easily lose. But this is what happens at this stage of a tournament when two top players meet each other. Just a couple of points decide the winner.
“…..And it’s probably, under the circumstances, the greatest victory I had in 2011.
“Why? Because I was two sets down, and I haven’t won many matches in my life when I was two sets down. You said five, six years ago was the last one, so… Especially against Roger, who we all are aware of his quality. When he’s a set or two sets up, he doesn’t let you win. When he’s in control of the match he’s confident, and it’s really hard to get back into the match. But I managed to play better, to switch gears, and I managed to play two incredible sets: third and fourth. Then I felt it’s the moment. You know, it’s the moment when I should step in and show what I got, and it paid off.
“So when he was two sets up, I was trying to convince myself I can get back into the match. I was feeling good physically. There was no problem. Mentally I had the motivation. I mean, come on, it’s semifinals of the US Open, you know. What more you’re asking for, you know? Full stadium, very exciting match against a top player, so I needed to fight. That’s what I did. I think when I made that break early in the third set I relaxed a little bit. I started hitting the shots that I maybe didn’t hit in the opening two sets, and he started making more mistakes. But that’s a switch of the momentum. That’s what happens. You can’t always be on the same level. It’s normal. Somebody, you know, feels at a certain stage of the match that he has control, and then it’s very hard to get back. I think we both knew in the fifth that – in the fourth that when I made the second break that he was kind of maybe a little bit saving the energy for the fifth. He started very strong, so it was a great set.”
For Federer, this is another loss that hurts: “it’s awkward having to explain this loss because I feel like I should be doing the other press conference,” Federer said. “But it’s what it is, you know, I mean. Yeah, I mean, it’s the obvious, really. He came back; he played well. I didn’t play so well at the very end. Sure, it’s disappointing, but I have only myself to blame.
“Yeah, I had it. There’s no more I could do. Snaps one shot, and then the whole thing changes. It’s strange how it goes, you know, but it was a good tournament for me. Sure, I’d love to be in the finals and give myself a chance to win the title, which is not the case now. So I have to accept that and move on.
That’s why we all watch sports, isn’t it? Because we don’t know the outcome and everybody has a chance, and until the very moment it can still turn. That’s what we love about the sport, but it’s also very cruel and tough sometimes. It got me today. It hurts, but it’s fine. Could be worse. It could be a final.
“Then to lose against someone like that, it’s very disappointing, because you feel like he was mentally out of it already. Just gets the lucky shot at the end, and off you go.
“I thought it was a close match. I should have won here. French Open was very close, too. He could have won that. It’s just one of those matches, you know. I mean, I set it all up perfect, but I couldn’t finish it.”
Djokovic now enters his third grand slam final of 2011.
Nadal holds back Murray
Defending champion Rafael Nadal advanced to his second consecutive US Open final with a 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 victory over Andy Murray. It marked the third time in 2011 that Murray was knocked out of a major in the semifinals by the Spaniard.
Serena slams past No. 1 Wozniacki
Serena Williams raised her 2011 record to 21-4 by dispatching Caroline Wozniacki 6-2, 6-4 to book a spot in the US Open final on Sunday.
Williams used an aggressive net approaching game to defeat her Danish opponent. “Usually, I only come to the net to shake hands, but today, I was like, `Let me try something different…I think the crowd really helped me. I could feel the energy,” said Williams.
Williams won 17 of 21 points at the net and completed the match with a total of 34 winners.
Williams will face Samantha Stosur in the Women’s final on Sunday afternoon. Stosur, playing on the Grandstand court in the early evening, held off southpaw Angelique Kerber of Germany 6-3, 2-6, 6-2.
Williams said that she is proud to be an American playing the final on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. “I really wanted to play tomorrow. Such a special day for the United States, so I’m really excited.”
Women’s Singles - Semifinals
(9) Samantha Stosur (AUS) d. Angelique Kerber (GER) 63 26 62
(28) Serena Williams (USA) d. (1) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) 62 64
Men’s Singles - Semifinals
(1) Novak Djokovic (SRB) d. (3) Roger Federer (SUI) 6-7 (7), 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 7-5
(2) Rafael Nadal (ESP) d. (4) Andy Murray (GBR) 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 6-2
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