World number one Novak Djokovic rallied from two sets down and saved two match points to beat five-time champion Roger Federer 6-7 (7/9), 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 7-5 to reach the US Open final on Saturday.
The top-seeded Serb, who had also saved two match points en route to a semi-final win over Federer at Flushing Meadows last year, avenged his loss at the hands of the Swiss legend in the French Open semi-finals, a defeat which ended his 43-match winning run.
Federer had appeared poised for victory after breaking Djokovic for a 5-3 lead in the fifth set -- Djokovic's untimely double fault giving Federer triple break point in that game.
But the Swiss great couldn't convert either of two match points in the following game -- Djokovic saving one with a searing forehand return -- and his own double fault on break point allowed Djokovic to even the set.
Two games later, Djokovic punctuated two long rallies with forehand winners to gain another break and he captured the three hour, 51 minute battle when Federer sent a service return long.
The defeat in the final Grand Slam of the year means Federer's streak of consecutive seasons with at least one major title ends at eight.
He claimed the last of his record 16 Grand Slam crowns at the 2010 Australian Open. Djokovic, who will face either defending champion Rafael Nadal or world number four Andy Murray in Monday's final, has a chance to add a third Grand Slam title to the Australian Open and Wimbledon trophies he has lifted in a spectacular season that has seen him win 63 of his 65 matches.
Playing their fourth successive meeting at the last-four stage at Flushing Meadows, Djokovic and Federer waited out an 80-minute rain delay then set the tone for a tense duel when neither dropped a point on serve in the first three games.
Neither faced a break point -- in fact not a game went to deuce -- as they took the opening set to the tiebreaker.
Djokovic's double fault gave Federer a commanding 5-2 lead in the tiebreaker with two serves for the Swiss coming up.
Federer then double-faulted himself before an unreturnable serve gave him a 6-3 lead and three set points.
Djokovic saved the first with a service winner, and the second with a forehand off a high net-cord bounce. The third, on Federer's serve, Djokovic saved with a mighty forehand.
After Djokovic saved one more set point on his own serve, Federer gave himself another with a shot behind Djokovic that had the Serb wheeling around in vain.
Federer secured the set with a stinging backhand Djokovic could barely get a racquet on. Federer earned the first break points of the match when he ripped a backhand down the line for a 15-40 lead in the second game of the second set. Djokovic saved one with his serve and the next when Federer's backhand flew long, but after Djokovic netted a backhand Federer seized the break.
After a brief pause in play as a fan was apparently taken ill in the upper deck of the stadium, Djokovic regained the break to knot the set at 3-3.
But Federer responded by breaking the Serb to love for a 4-3 lead en route to a taking a two-set lead. Djokovic was energized by a break for 2-0 in the third set, a game in which Federer squandered three game points then saved two break points before Djokovic induced him to hit a forehand into the net.
It was the only opening Djokovic needed. Suddenly Federer was looking all of his 30 years. He never had a chance to break back and surrendered the set seven games later when he shanked a backhand.
Djokovic looked even more dominant in the fourth, breaking Federer in the first and fifth games and racing through his first three service games without surrendering a point.
He still needed six set points to close it out, Federer saving two as he held serve for 5-2 to force Djokovic to serve it out.
Although the Serb quickly took a 40-0 lead, he wasted his first opportunity with a double fault before Federer' saved the next set point with a forehand winner. Djokovic went long with a forehand, before delivering two winning serves to knot the tie at two sets apiece.