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Braced for final punch

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal will meet in the US Open final for the second year in a row after winning their semi-finals on a day of unrelenting drama and precision tennis at Flushing Meadows.

sports Updated: Sep 12, 2011 01:05 IST
Agencies

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal will meet in the US Open final for the second year in a row after winning their semi-finals on a day of unrelenting drama and precision tennis at Flushing Meadows.

Djokovic on Saturday showed why he is the hottest player in the game right now when he saved two match points to roar back from the brink of defeat and beat Roger Federer in a five-set thriller that whipped the Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd into a frenzy of excitement.

Then Nadal, his form and confidence soaring with each match he plays, powered past Britain’s Andy Murray 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 and set up a mouthwatering rematch between the top two players in the world.

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Nadal beat Djokovic 12 months ago to complete his collection of Grand Slam titles but the Serbian has had his measure this year. “I’ve lost my last five matches against him, five finals,” Nadal said. “He’s obviously the favourite for the final, and I know I have to do something better than those other matches to try and change the situation.”

An incredible comeback
For Djokovic, who has already won Australian Open and Wimbledon, there was just relief that he made the final after he survived a pulsating contest with Federer that could have gone either way.

Federer won the first two sets t en regained his composure to lead 5-3 in the fifth. The Swiss maestro, a five-time champion at Flushing Meadows served for the match and had two match points, but Djokovic saved them both and won the last four games to complete an incredible comeback.

“It’s a sport where one wins, one loses,” Djokovic said. “We have a saying, ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.’”

Delight for Melzer and Petzchner
Jurgen Melzer and Philipp Petzschner captured the men’s doubles title at the US Open.

The pair, seeded ninth, beat the sixth seeds, Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski of Poland 6-2 6-2 in just 48 minutes in a late match on the Arthur Ashe Stadium that did not finish until after midnight. It was the first US Open win for Melzer, from Austria, and Petzschner, of Germany, but their second grand slam success afte they won Wimbledon last year.