NEW YORK, (Reuters) – Top seed Novak Djokovic rode a third set blip to breeze past Mikhail Youzhny 6-3 6-2 3-6 6-0 and reach the semi-finals of the U.S. Open yesterday.
The Serb polished off his Russian opponent in two hours and 34 minutes minutes on Arthur Ashe Stadium to set up a meeting on Saturday with Stanislas Wawrinka, who earlier stunned defending champion Andy Murray.
Djokovic hit 32 winners but his unforced errors count was an unusually high 45 as he reached a 14th successive grand slam semi-final.
“I’ve been always trying to play my best tennis in the grand slams,” he said.
“I had a tough hard court season coming into the U.S. Open but I’m really working on my game. I’m going to try to play my best in every match.” The New York crowd was on underdog Youzhny’s side after the third set, but Djokovic recovered momentum by breaking the Russian’s opening service game of the fourth set. With entrepreneur Richard Branson cheering him on from his supporters’ box, Djokovic broke again in the fourth and sixth games to put the issue beyond doubt.
The clash between Djokovic and ninth seeded Swiss Wawrinka will be their first since an epic battle at the Australian Open in January, when Djokovic won 12-10 in the fifth set before going on to win the title.
“Stan showed today why he deserves to be in the top 10 of the world,” said Djokovic. “He won in straight sets against the defending champion and probably played the best tennis I’ve seen him play on hard courts.
“I also feel quite good on the court, quite confident and hopefully I can continue the same way.”