Novak Djokovic Defeats Roger Federer in Five-Set US Open Thriller
Djokovic, who previously lost to Federer three straight years in a row at the U.S. Open, finally broke his losing streak at Flushing Meadows to the Swiss native. On Saturday, Djokovic fought off two match points during the 10th game of the fifth set and eventually prevailed by winning the most vital points of the match when his back was against the wall.
The 23-year-old Djokovic was more consistent than Federer on offense and defense, especially in the fifth set. The Serb closed Federer out on a long rally on his first match point, up 6-5 in the decisive set of the match.
Federer finished the match with an uncharacteristically high amount of unforced errors -- 66 to Djokovic's 38. Federer's second serve was another major factor to his demise. He has struggled with the stroke all summer, and only converted on 46 percent of his second-serve points, while Djokovic converted 63 percent of his.
Djokovic came out the aggressor in the first set, setting the tone and breaking Federer in the sixth game of the opener to go up 4-2. But momentum wavered throughout the match, as Federer battled back to win the first set before Djokovic dominated the next. Federer then won the third set in a similar fashion to the first, but listlessly lost the fourth set just as he did during the second.
The fifth set was the most competitive and exciting of the match. No breaks of serve were registered until Djokovic finally broke Federer in the 11th game of the decisive set to go up 6-5 and serve the match out. This was just one game after Djokovic was up against a wall, down two match points in the 10th game.
Djokovic ultimately broke Federer in the 11th game and served the match out, playing solid offense and splendid defense -- not allowing Federer to generate many clean winners throughout the latter portions of the match. He clinched the match on a 22-shot rally, when Federer forced a backhand wide after failing to penetrate Djokovic's defense.
Djokovic, the 2008 Australian Open champion, finally avenged the past three nightmarish years against Federer at Flushing Meadows. In 2007, he finished runner-up to Federer and lost in the semifinals the past two years.
The third-ranked Djokovic will go up against top-ranked Rafael Nadal of Spain in Sunday's U.S. Open final. It will be Nadal's first U.S. Open final appearance, while Djokovic will be making his second.
Nadal holds a 14-7 career head-to-head advantage over the Serb. However, Djokovic has won three in a row against the 24-year-old eight-time Grand Slam champion -- all three of Djokovic's latest wins have come on hard court.