Monday, September 10, 2012
Djokovic advances to U.S. Open final
By Larry Fine
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A new day brought the old familiar Novak Djokovic back to the U.S. Open as the reigning champion completed a weather-halted 2-6 6-1 6-4 6-2 victory over Spaniard David Ferrer on Sunday to return to the men's final.
The Australian Open champion, who had looked lost at windblown Arthur Ashe Stadium on Saturday before the semi-final was suspended due to an approaching storm with 10th seed Ferrer leading 5-2, was his dominant self under Sunday's sunny skies.
"I was a different player," the second-seeded Djokovic said. "I felt much more comfortable on the court today than I did yesterday.
"Ferrer was coping with the conditions much better than I did. Yesterday, I didn't have any rhythm, so I didn't mind getting off the court yesterday to be honest and coming in today."
Blasting winners from both sides and breezing through his service games, Djokovic needed less than two hours to sweep the last three sets and set up a finals showdown against third-seeded Olympic champion Andy Murray of Britain.
Murray, who beat Czech Tomas Berdych in his semi-final, will be aiming for his first grand slam title in the final, which was rescheduled for Monday because of the delays.
"It's definitely a huge relief to get through this match. He's a great competitor," Djokovic said about Ferrer.
Five-time grand slam winner Djokovic, befuddled by the blustery winds that swept through Flushing Meadows on Saturday, lost his first set of the tournament when Ferrer, 30, held serve when they resumed play on Sunday at the National Tennis Centre.
That was Ferrer's high point of the day as the 25-year-old Djokovic dominated the rest of the way to reach his ninth grand slam final.
"I don't know, every day is different," said Ferrer. "Today, Djokovic plays better than me."
Djokovic blasted 28 winners, double the total of Ferrer, over the last three sets and made just 20 errors against 31 for the Spaniard. He was lethal when opportunity presented itself, converting six of eight break point chances.
"We were all praying for less wind today," said Djokovic, who has won the last three grand slams played on hard court, including back-to-back Australian titles. "I think he handled the wind much better than I did.
"I came in today as a different player and I'm very happy to get to another grand slam final."
Djokovic has made seven of the last ninth grand slam finals.
The world number two improved his career record to 9-5 against the hard-fighting Spaniard, who has won five tournament titles this season but was overpowered by the Serb on Sunday.
"Every match is different. Every day is different," said Ferrer, who won a fifth-set tiebreaker against Serbian Janko Tipsarevic to reach the semi-finals.
Ferrer, who will be returning to Spain for this weekend's Davis Cup semi-final against the United States, was not able to reach his first grand slam final after a fourth appearance in a semi-final, but said overall he was pleased with his showing.
"Of course, I am very positive," he said. "I reached the semi-final in a grand slam, my second time in a semi-final here at the U.S. Open. I am very happy with me and with my performance."
(Editing by Gene Cherry)
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