The men’s US Open final will feature the top two players in the world. For the third time this summer, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic will meet, this clash for the final Grand Slam of the season, the US Open title.
Both guys had no trouble and no resistance at all today in lopsided wins in Friday semifinals. What were supposed to be good matches on paper, just weren’t.
First, Djokovic lost just three total games crushing Marin Cilic 6-0, 6-1, 6-2 to reach his sixth US Open final. The Serb who had struggled against two Spaniards leading in, was in total control on the Croat who was limited by an apparent ankle injury.
“Obviously it felt great to be able to perform as well as I did today at this stage of a tournament,” said Djokovic who is now 14-0 against Cilic. “Knowing that Marin carried that (ankle) injury for last couple of matches. I didn’t allow that fact to distract me too much.
“I just wanted to concentrate on what I needed to do on the court and come out with the right intensity, make him move, get as many returns back in play. All in all, it was from my side a very solid match and I take that as a confidence booster for the final.”
Cilic had won 12 straight matches at the US Open, but the defending champion offered nothing today.
“I’m not 100%, obviously. And even the last match against Jo I wasn’t feeling 100%,” Cilic said. “You know, the foot was causing me obviously some trouble with the movement, but, you know, Novak was able to expose me much more today. Even coming before the match and thinking, you know, if I’m going to play or not, I decide to play, as it’s a Grand Slam tournament, it’s deep in the tournament. You know, I decide to go on the court and give my best. You know, if it would be some other tournament, doesn’t matter which one, I would probably pull out and not, you know, get myself in the position to aggravate it much more.”
Djokovic is 26-1 on the year in Slams and has reached the finals now at every event since Doha, and all four Slams for the first time in a year. But he hasn’t won the US Open since 2011.
“I came here with a wish and a mission, as well, to reach the finals and fight for the trophy,” Djokovic said. “So I got myself in that position. It’s already a great result. But I want to get that final step on Sunday and get my hands on that trophy.”
Five-time tournament champion Federer figured to have a much tougher task against Stan Wawrinka who destroyed Kevin Anderson. But after close first set in which both players held multiple break chances with only Federer converting, Federer ran away with the match 6-4, 6-3, 6-1.
“I’m serving very well, playing positive tennis,” Federer said after reaching his seventh US Open final. “I am going for my shots and I’d love [everything] to work just one more time this year.”
Federer utilized his SABR twice early in the match, breaking Wawrinka in the third game. And he never lost serve as he once again was on the attack whenever possible.
“I wasn’t quite sure if I was going to play this aggressive against Stan, because he does – when he’s on, he presents a very different challenge to all the players I have played thus far in this tournament. But now that I have been able to do it also against Stan definitely gives me confidence that maybe I can also do it against Novak this way.”
The win streak for Federer is now at 11, winning all 28 sets since his 34th birthday. Wawrinka falls to 0-12 against his countryman on hardcourts, 3-17 overall.
“He’s moving really well, for sure,” Wawrinka said. “As I said before playing him, I saw him in Cincinnati, I think he’s quite fast on the court. He’s reading well the game, and so he’s trying really to stay on the line, not to go back; stay really aggressive. He’s serving really well, also. He’s serving better than I’ve ever seen him serve.
“For me tonight he’s getting more angles. It’s more tough to really serve and to make something from.”
Federer and Djokovic have meet 41 times before with Federer winning 21. The two have split their last two meetings this summer, and Federer leads 3-2 at the US Open where he’s 5-1 in finals and Djokovic just 1-4.
“Novak it’s been more straightforward, my opinion,” Federer said of the matchup. “That’s what I like about the rivalry. I think we both can – I don’t know how it is for him, but I feel like he doesn’t need to adjust his game as much, either. I think it’s just a straight shootout.”
Federer hasn’t won the US Open since 2008 and he’s lost to Djokovic the last two times he’s played him in New York.
“I think there is a lot of positives for me to take away from that match or all of Wimbledon, Cincinnati, as well, that match with Novak there, and then now how I have played here thus far,” Federer said. “I think it’s an interesting three months to look back on and take the good and the bad and compress all of those into one thing and hopefully come up with a the perfect game plan against Novak Sunday.”
The final will be played Sunday at 4pm. It’s No. 1 vs No. 2!
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