9th September, 2012
Defending champion Novak Djokovic swept into his third consecutive US Open final this evening in New York, setting up a title showdown with Britain’s Andy Murray, with a 2-6, 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 win over Spain’s David Ferrer.
Ferrer had led 5-2 in the first set overnight when the semi-final was suspended due to violent storms which battered New York, but Djokovic thrived under clear blue skies on Sunday, allowing the Spaniard just eight more games.
The victory gave the second seed a place in his third Grand Slam final of the season, a year-leading 60th win and extended his winning run at hardcourt majors to 27 matches.
Djokovic will be aiming for a sixth major in Monday’s final while third-seed Murray, who trails the Serb 8-6 in career meetings, is bidding to become Britain’s first men’s Grand Slam champion since Fred Perry in 1936.
Victory by the Serb in the championship match would mean 30 out of the last 31 majors have been won by either Djokovic, Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal.
“We were all praying for less wind today. It was brutal and he handled it better than I did yesterday but I came into today a different player,” said Djokovic.
“It’s a huge relief to get through. David is a great competitor and I have a lot of respect for him. He’s one of the fittest guys on tour.”
The final will be the fifth successive year that poor weather has forced the men’s title match to be played on Monday.
“Against Andy, there will be no clear favourite. He’s going for a first Grand Slam and will be very motivated. Hopefully we will both come up with our best tennis,” said Djokovic after making a fourth final in New York.
Ferrer, hoping to take advantage of playing at a semi-final stage at a major that wasn’t featuring either Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal for the first time since 2004, admitted the Serb was a worthy winner.
“He was better. In some games in the third and the fourth sets I lost a little bit of my focus, but I think he deserved to win the match,” said the Spaniard.
Ferrer quickly wrapped up the opening set on Sunday’s resumption before Djokovic, who hadn’t dropped a set in the tournament, made the fourth seed pay, racing into a 5-0 lead in the second, even saving three break points in the fifth game in the process.
Ferrer, playing in his second US Open semi-final and bidding to make the final at a major at the 40th attempt, saved three set points in the seventh game before the champion levelled the semi-final.
The world number two, who had been unsettled by Saturday’s storm-filled skies, broke in the opening game of the third set as the faster, hotter conditions played into his hands.
Ferrer briefly rallied for 2-2 before the Serb broke again for 4-3, going on to serve two love games to take the set with a fifth ace of the contest.
Two more comfortable breaks allowed Djokovic to sweep to a 3-0 advantage in the fourth set as Ferrer wilted under a relentless barrage of pinpoint groundstrokes.
It was all over when Djokovic confidently put away a forehand volley.AFP