New York Sep 08;World number one Novak Djokovic and number two Rafael Nadal set up a mouthwatering men’s singles final at the U.S. Open with victories in the semi-finals at Flushing Meadows on Saturday.
Top seed Djokovic sealed his berth first by overtaking gutsy ninth seed Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland in a heart-pounding 2-6 7-6(4) 3-6 6-3 6-4 victory over four hours.
Nadal conserved his energy, dismissing eighth-seeded Richard Gasquet 6-4 7-6(1) 6-2 to improve his career record to 11-0 against the Frenchman and his 2013 hardcourt record to 21-0.
The Spaniard, winner of 12 grand slam titles, won his only U.S. Open crown in 2010 against Djokovic, who claimed his Flushing Meadows title the following year against Nadal. Last year Djokovic was runnerup to Briton Andy Murray.
“Last year I didn’t have the chance to play on this court,” said Nadal, who was sidelined seven months due to a knee injury.
“To have the chance to play in the final Monday is just a dream for me. It has been two amazing weeks for me.”
Djokovic and Nadal are the most familiar of rivals and will be playing against each other for a tour record 37th time. Nadal leads their series 21-15.
“Novak is an amazing competitor,” said the reigning French Open champion. “His results say he is probably one of the best players I have ever seen. He’s a great champion and will be a tough final for me, but I hope to be ready for that.”
While Nadal took apart Gasquet in his semi-final, Djokovic got off to a slow start against an inspired Wawrinka and relied on his stamina to wear down the Swiss.
The tumultuous match included a warning for courtside coaching from Djokovic’s box, the mangling of a racket by a frustrated Wawrinka and a medical timeout for the Swiss for a strained thigh muscle.