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Novak Djokovic moves into third consecutive U.S. Open final

September 09, 2012|By Diane Pucin
  • Novak Djokovic returns a backhand against David Ferrer in a U.S. Open semifinal.
Novak Djokovic returns a backhand against David Ferrer in a U.S. Open semifinal. (Jason Szenes / Getty Images )

NEW YORK -- Novak Djokovic, the 25-year-old from Serbia who won three of the four Grand Slam tournaments last year and started off this year by winning the Australian Open, has a chance to finish off his majors year in a positive way.

In a men's semifinal that began Saturday and was stopped in the first set because of approaching severe weather, the second-seeded Djokovic came back to beat fourth-seeded David Ferrer of Spain, 2-6, 6-1, 6-4, 6-2, in 2 hours 32 minutes Sunday at the U.S. Open.

Ferrer, who is scheduled to play Davis Cup on clay for Spain against the United States next weekend, had nothing to pierce Djokovic's superb defensive tennis Sunday when the weather had settled into nearly perfectly conditions.

"It's definitely a huge relief to get through this match," Djokovic told the Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd. "He's one of the fittest guys on tour and he never gives up. We were all praying for less wind today. I think Ferrer handled the wind much better than I did Saturday. I came in today a different player."

Djokovic will play third-seeded Andy Murray at 1 p.m. Pacific time Monday in the men's final that will be televised live by CBS. This will be Murray's second Open final. Murray, who won the Olympic gold medal in July, is still trying to become the first British man since Fred Perry won Wimbledon in 1936 to win a Grand Slam-level tournament.

Ferrer, 30, had jumped into a 5-2 lead Saturday in extra windy conditions. But 33 minutes into that match, officials came to the court and called off play because of severe weather that was heading to the area.

The decision meant that for the fifth straight year the men's final would be played on Monday and it also meant the Ferrer-Djokovic winner might be at a disadvantage Monday. The other men's semifinal between Murray and Tomas Berdych had been completed with Murray advancing to his second Open final.

But after just about conceding the first set to Ferrer on Sunday, Djokovic began playing the tennis that had gotten him to the semifinals. He hit the ball cleanly and defended well. In about an hour and a half, Djokovic won the second and third sets, 6-1, 6-4. Djkovic held that love in five of his last six service games in the second and third sets.

Djokovic began the fourth set by breaking Ferrer at love. Ferrer had never been to a Grand Slam-level final and never challenged Djokovic's serve.

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