Djokovic upsets Federer to join Nadal in U.S. Open final

Sat Sep 11, 2010 10:11pm EDT
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By Julian Linden

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Novak Djokovic clawed his way back from the brink of defeat to beat Roger Federer in an epic semi-final at the U.S. Open on Saturday and join Rafa Nadal in Sunday's championship.

Djokovic, who lost to Federer in New York the past three years, twice came back from a set down and saved two match points to win 5-7 6-1 5-7 6-2 7-5 after a match of unrelenting tension and incredible shotmaking from both players.

The Serbian world number three, who thumped himself in the head with his racket during the third set as the frustration began to build, jubilantly threw his arms into the air after sealing victory and planted a sloppy kiss on the court.

"It's one of those matches you'll always remember in your career. I'm so thrilled to be in the final," Djokovic said in courtside interview.

"To be honest, I was just closing my eyes and hitting forehands as fast as I can on the match points ... I managed to come back. I was very lucky."

Djokovic's nail-biting victory robbed the tennis world of what might have been the ultimate grand slam final. Federer and Nadal have played each other in the final at Wimbledon, the French Open and the Australian Open, but no two men have ever met in the finals of all four majors.

"I can only try to imagine the excitement around the two of us maybe playing," Federer said. "I would have loved to play against him here."

For Federer, a five-time winner of the U.S. Open and a finalist last year, it was his earliest exit from New York since 2003, while Nadal moved tantalizingly close to completing his own career slam.   Continued...

<p>Novak Djokovic of Serbia kisses the court as he 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>