Djokovic beats Federer to meet Nadal in final

Sat Sep 11, 2010 7:56pm EDT
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By Larry Fine

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Novak Djokovic fought off two match points with huge winners en route to a thrilling 5-7 6-1 5-7 6-2 7-5 upset of five-time U.S. Open winner Roger Federer on Saturday to reach the final of the year's last grand slam.

The third-seeded Serbian had been eliminated by the Swiss master in the three previous U.S. Opens, but he returned the favor by winning a nail-biting fifth set in the semi-final to reach the championship match against top-seeded Rafa Nadal.

Djokovic, runner-up in 2007 and a semi-final loser the past two years, dropped to his knees and kissed the court after the second-seeded Federer's forehand landed wide on match point.

"It was just a big pleasure playing in this kind of match," the 23-year-old Serb told the Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd after the intense, three-hour 44-minute battle. "It's one of those matches you'll always remember in your career. I'm just so thrilled to be in the final."

Nadal routed 12th-seeded Russian Mikhail Youzhny 6-2 6-3 6-4 in the other semi-final to book a spot in the final where he will look to complete a career grand slam.

Djokovic was on the ropes at 15-40, facing double match point, serving at 4-5 in a final set that had gone on serve.

With everything on the line, the slender Serb saved the first with a forehand drive volley winner and then rifled a topspin forehand into the corner to bring the game to deuce.

"To be honest I was just closing my eyes and hitting forehands as fast as I can on the match points," said Djokovic, looking for a U.S. Open crown to put on his resume next to the 2008 Australian Open title.   Continued...

<p>Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates his victory against Roger Federer of Switzerland during the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, September 11, 2010. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque</p>