Federer v. Davydenko, Djokovic v. Ferrer Fill Saturday Semifinals at US Open

Posted on September 7, 2007

Roger Federer and Nikolay Davydenko meet in a repeat of last yearís US open semifinal, which Federer won in straight sets. The Russian has taken just one set off Federer in their last six meetings, and has lost all nine of his previous match-ups with the Swiss. Davydenko is bidding to become the fourth different Russian to a reach a Grand Slam final in the Open Era, but to do so he must end Federerís nine-match-winning streak in Grand Slam semifinals. Three-time defending champion Federer is attempting to reach his tenth consecutive Grand Slam final, and 14th in total.

The pair are contesting a Grand Slam semifinal for the third time in the last five majors, this being a rematch of their semifinal clashes at both last yearís US Open and this yearís Roland Garros. Overall, this is their fourth meeting in a major, their last three meetings being at Grand Slam events. Although Davydenko pushed Federer to three sets in their first three match-ups, he has won just one set in their last six encounters. Six of their previous nine match-ups have been on hard court.

Three-time defending champion Federer has advanced to his fourth straight US Open semifinal, having extended his win-loss record over Andy Roddick to 14-1 after defeating him in the quarterfinals.

Federer has never lost in the US Open semifinals, and each time previously that he has reached the last four, he has gone on to win the title. Federer defeated Tim Henman 63 64 64 in the 2004 semifinals, Lleyton Hewitt 63 76 46 63 in the 2005 semifinals, and todayís opponent Davydenko 61 75 64 in last yearís semifinals.

Through his quarterfinal victory, Federer is on a streak of 25 consecutive match wins at the US Open (he had a walkover en route to his first US Open title in 2004, which is not counted as a win). Federerís last loss here came in 2003, when he fell to David Nalbandian 36 76 64 63 in the round of 16. During his winning streak here, Federer has lost just ten sets and has only been extended to a fifth set once (against Andre Agassi in the 2004 quarterfinals).

Davydenko advanced to his second successive US Open semifinal, and his fourth Grand Slam semifinal overall, by winning his 100th match on hard court in the quarterfinals. He is today bidding to reach his first Grand Slam final.

Last year, Davydenko reached the US Open semifinals for the first time, losing to todayís opponent Federer 61 75 64. He also reached Grand Slam semifinals at 2005 Roland Garros (l. Mariano Puerta 63 57 26 64 64) and 2007 Roland Garros (l. Federer 75 76 76).

Davydenko is the only man yet to drop a set in advancing to the semifinals at this yearís US Open, the first time that he has advanced to this stage of a major with five straight-sets victories. The last man to reach the US Open semifinals without dropping a set was Lleyton Hewitt in 2004. Hewitt went on to become the fifth different player to advance to the US Open final in the Open Era without dropping a set after Jimmy Connors (1976-77) and Ivan Lendl (1983, 1987), who both achieved this feat twice, and Guillermo Vilas (1977) and Jim Courier (1991). (Note: At the 1975-78 US Opens, matches were best of three sets in the opening rounds.) Rafael Nadal was the last player to reach the final of a Grand Slam without dropping a set, doing so at this yearís Roland Garros.

Novak Djokovic, for the third time this year, stands one victory away from becoming the first Serbian man to reach a Grand Slam final in the Open Era. The 20-year-old is also bidding to become the youngest US Open finalist since Pete Sampras won the title here in 1990. As in Djokovicís previous Grand Slam semifinals, he faces a Spaniard, but this time it is not Rafael Nadal, but Nadalís conqueror David Ferrer. Ferrer, playing in his first Grand Slam semifinal, is bidding to become the fourth different Spaniard to reach the US Open final in the Open Era.

This is the pairís fourth meeting, and second on hard court, Djokovic winning their first hard court encounter at AMS Indian Wells in March on his way to a runner-up finish. 

Djokovic has reached his first US Open semifinal, having won his first US Open quarterfinal when he defeated No. 17 seed Carlos Moya, more than ten years his senior, in straight sets on Thursday night.

Djokovic has reached his third career Grand Slam semifinal, and third consecutive Grand Slam semifinal. He faces a Spaniard in the last four of a major for the third time. He broke through to his first Grand Slam semifinal at 2007 Roland Garros, defeating Igor Andreev 63 63 63 in the quarterfinals, before losing to Rafael Nadal 75 64 62. He also reached the last four at Wimbledon, defeating Marcos Baghdatis 76 76 67 46 75 in the last eight before again losing to Nadal, this time retiring with an infected blister on his toe when trailing the Spaniard 36 61 41.

Djokovic is just the second player to reach three Grand Slam semifinals in 2007, following Roger Federer. Federer in fact has reached the semifinals of all four majors this year, and for the third year running.

Ferrer has advanced to his first Grand Slam semifinal at this yearís US Open in his 20th major, becoming the fourth man to win 50 matches in 2007.

Ferrerís previous best Grand Slam result was a quarterfinal finish at 2005 Roland Garros, where he upset defending champion Gaston Gaudio 26 64 76 57 64 in the round of 16 before losing to Rafael Nadal 75 62 60.

Before this year, Ferrer had never advanced beyond the third round at the US Open. He lost at that stage in his last two US Open appearances: last year, as No. 11 seed, to Mikhail Youzhny 46 64 75 64 and in 2005, as No. 17 seed, to Dominik Hrbaty 67 75 75 75. Prior to that, Ferrer lost in the first round on his first two US Open appearances.

The remaining four players still alive at the 2007 US Open feature in the top six in the ATP Race through the completion of the quarterfinals. Following Rafael Nadalís round of 16 defeat, Roger Federer has taken over from the world No. 2 at the top of the leaderboard.

Novak Djokovic will remain at No. 3 whatever happens in the next two days, but Nikolay Davydenko will overtake Andy Roddick and move into fourth place if he is able to upset Federer in their semifinal on Saturday. He cannot go any higher than No. 4 however, even if he wins the title. It will be David Ferrer who takes possession of fourth place, moving ahead of both Davydenko and Roddick, if he lifts the trophy here on Sunday, but the Spaniard will remain in his current position at No. 6 if he is the runner-up.

The top seven finishers in the 2007 ATP Race qualify for a place at 2007 Tennis Masters Cup Shanghai, while the eighth place goes to a Grand Slam champion this season who finishes between 8th and 20th in the ATP Race. If no player fits this classification, the eighth place goes to the player finishing eighth in the ATP Race.

ATP Race at 7 September*
Rank Player  Points
1. Roger Federer** 1061
2. Rafael Nadal** 1012
3. Novak Djokovic** 752
4. Andy Roddick 466
5. Nikolay Davydenko 465
6. David Ferrer 382
7. James Blake 321
8. Tommy Haas 316
9. Carlos Moya 315
10. Ivan Ljubicic 303