Dream U.S. Open final edges closer to reality

Fri Sep 10, 2010 2:39pm EDT
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By Julian Linden

NEW YORK (Reuters) - After almost two weeks of action, Novak Djokovic and Mikhail Youzhny are all that stand in the way of an ultimate grand slam final showdown between the world's two best players, Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal.

The pair have already played each other in the finals of three of the four majors and while the U.S. Open remains the odd one out, that anomaly will be erased if they both win their semi-finals on Saturday.

If history and current form is anything to go by, the top two seeds should advance but neither player is guaranteed an easy ride. Their opponents are dangerous and willing to spoil the prospects of a dream final.

"I'm ready to be bad person. I love to be bad person in this case," said Youzhny, who is drawn to play Nadal.

Djokovic is not in a charitable mood either. The Serbian was beaten by Federer in the 2007 U.S. Open final and the semi-finals in the subsequent two years. The thought of losing to him again this weekend holds no appeal to the world number three.

"I'm sure that the crowd wants them in the finals but I will try to not make that happen," Djokovic said.

Federer has already achieved his life's ambition by winning all four majors and breaking Pete Sampras' record for grand slam titles but the Swiss shows no signs of wanting to stop adding to his collection of 16.

The 29-year-old has been involved in each of the last six finals of the U.S. Open, winning the first five before his shock loss to Juan Martin del Potro last year, but is playing as well as ever this time.   Continued...

<p>Roger Federer of Switzerland serves to Robin Soderling of Sweden during the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, September 8, 2010. REUTERS/Mike Segar</p>