It was a shaky start, but the world’s #1 tennis player Novak Djokovic survived to advance to the US Open Finals. He defeated Stanislas Wawrinka, who defeated reigning champion Andy Murray in the quarterfinals, 2-6, 7-6(4), 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 in an exhausting, but exciting semifinal match.
Wawrinka broke Djokovic twice and was almost perfect in the first set. Everyone then knew Djokovic would have to fight to win the match. They had to go to tiebreak in the second set, but Djokovic managed to hold off and tie the match 1-1.
But it was Game 3 in the fifth set the world will remember:
It started innocently enough, with an ace and a forced error by Djokovic that gave Wawrinka a quick 30-love lead.
But when Djokovic scrambled to get to a deftly struck drop shot, then Wawrinka sprayed the reply wide, things started setting up for something special. Djokovic followed that hustle play with an acutely angled backhand for a winner to make it 30-30. Wawrinka hit a forehand winner to make it 40-30, and for the next 15 minutes, each man tried in vain to close out the game.
The final 23 points included six winners, two double-faults and at least one small rest break for Wawrinka after a cruelly efficient dink-lob-overhead combination of Djokovic’s chased Wawrinka off the court and onto the ledge near the front row.
Djokovic will play the winner of the Rafael Nadal/Richard Gasquet semifinal match. The US Open decided to give players a day off and the final will not be until Monday evening in New York City.