Absolute full credit to Novak Djokovic. Down two match points at 4-5, 15-40 in the fifth set, Djokovic went for broke and came up with the goods against his rival Roger Federer. And it paid off because some 10 minutes later Djokovic served out this instant classic 5-7, 6-1, 5-7, 6-2, 7-5 to put himself into the US Open finals tomorrow afternoon against Rafael Nadal.
What a match, and really what a fifth set. Both Novak and Federer were redlining their games, blasting groundstokes and coming up with shot after remarkable shot. For me, it was one of the best 5th sets I’ve ever seen.
I’ve ripped on Djokovic many times in this blog, but I thought his first round comeback win could have marked a turning point in his career, and today he proved that it was.
Djokovic showed heart, showed poise and he showed guts in that fifth. Incredible stuff.
I’m honestly not surprised he won – he had to win eventually over Federer at the US Open – but I’m in shock from just how he pulled it off, going for broke and his back was against the wall.
What a performance, one of the best I’ve seen and certainly one of the best matches he’s played in his career. It’s amazing to think that just a few weeks ago this same Djokovic barely showed a pulse in a awful loss in Cincinnati to Andy Roddick.
What a turn around.
The loss of course squashes (again) hopes of a Sunday Federer-Nadal final, but given the quality and suspense of the match I just saw I’m good with that.
Earlier in the day Rafael Nadal took care of business ripping Mikhail Youzhny 6-2, 6-3, 6-4. The weary-looking Youzhny, who had just come off a 5-set marathon in the quarterfinals against Stan Wawrinka, was never really in the match.
As he’s been all week, Nadal looked fresh, looked sharp and virtually looked unbeatable. Tomorrow, the well-rested Rafa gets his third straight player coming off a three-set win in Djokovic.
Nadal now stands just one win, or three sets, from an historic career Grand Slam. And odds are he’s going to do it.
“Well, it’s another step I think in my career, so for sure is a very important victory for me,” Nadal said after his 20th straight Grand Slam match win. “Yeah, be in the final of the last Grand Slam of the year is something new, because I always arrived here with problems. I think I can say I did a very good tournament. Anyway, the result of tomorrow of course change a lot the result of the match of tomorrow. But I am very satisfied how I improved during all the tournament, because I didn’t arrive to this tournament playing my best. That’s a very important thing.”
Similar to his advantage of Federer, Nadal leads Djokovic 14-7 but the Serb has won three straight all last year and all in straight sets so there’s reason for Novak fans to hope.
I’ll have more ahead of the final tomorrow. I need to catch my breath.
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