Djokovic/Wawrinka big-game talents in U.S. Open final

Sat Sep 10, 2016 6:43pm EDT
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By Larry Fine

NEW YORK (Reuters) - World number one Novak Djokovic has enjoyed a whirlwind trip to Sunday's U.S. Open final, but the top-seeded Serb expects hard work ahead when he meets Stan Wawrinka at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Defending champion Djokovic, who became the third man to hold all four grand slam singles titles at once after his triumph at Roland Garros in June, owns a 19-4 career head-to-head advantage over the Swiss third seed.

He leads 4-2 in grand slam meetings against Wawrinka, with three of Djokovic's victories going five sets, including a memorable 2013 Australian Open fourth-rounder decided 12-10 in the fifth set.

"He's a big match player. He loves to play in the big stage against big players, because that's when he elevates his level of performance," said 12-times slam winner Djokovic. "He just gets much better."

Gifted by a second-round walkover and two retirements along the way, Djokovic has spent less than nine hours on court, completing 13 sets through six rounds at Flushing Meadows, reaching the final 6-3 6-2 3-6 6-2 over 10th seed Gael Monfils.

The hard-working Wawrinka has been on court twice as long, 17 hours, 54 minutes, playing 23 sets.

He advanced 4-6 7-5 6-4 6-2 over sixth seed Kei Nishikori after surviving a match point in his five set, third-round match against unseeded Daniel Evans of Britain.

The 'big match' Warwinka, whose indefatigable determination brought him the nickname "Stanimal", has won his last 10 finals.   Continued...

Sept 9, 2016; New York, NY, USA;  
Novak Djokovic of Serbia after beating Gael Monfils of France on day twelve of the 2016 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports