NEW YORK, (Reuters) – Top seed Novak Djokovic booked the first berth in the men’s final of the U.S. Open by overtaking gutsy ninth seed Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland in a heart-pounding five sets in yesterday’s semi-finals.
Djokovic survived a courageous challenge by Wawrinka with a 2-6 7-6(4) 3-6 6-3 6-4 victory that earned both players long ovations from the Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd.
The Serb said he would grab some popcorn and recover on the couch from his four-hour tussle while watching the second semi-final between world number two Rafa Nadal and French eighth seed Richard Gasquet.
“These matches is what we live for, what we practice for,” Djokovic said after reaching his fourth successive U.S. Open final.
“All the credit to (Wawrinka) for being so aggressive and playing so well. I’m just fortunate to play my best tennis when I needed to.”
The tumultuous match, which included a warning for courtside coaching from Djokovic’s box, the mangling of a racket by a frustrated Wawrinka and a medical timeout for the Swiss for a strained thigh muscle, reached a crescendo in the fifth set.
With Wawrinka serving at 1-1, the combatants locked into a marathon duel that lasted 21 minutes, featuring some brilliant rallies and great shot-making in which the Swiss fought off five break points during 12 deuces and won on the 30th point with a service winner.