(September 7, 2013) No. 1 Novak Djokovic overcame a set and a break deficit to reach his fourth straight US Open final with a dramatic 2-6, 7-6(4) 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over first-time Grand Slam semifinalist Stanislas Wawrinka.
In the third game of the fifth set Djokovic lost a 21-minute game where he could not convert on any of his five break points. Djokovic recovered to break Wawrinka in the fifth game and held the rest of the way to close out the match after four hours and nine minutes with an ace.
The Swiss Wawrinka is now 0-13 versus No. 1 players. He had 69 unforced errors and 57 winners while Djokovic hit 46 unforced errors and hit 38 winners. Both men won 165 points.
“It’s a strange feeling, but for me I think I need to take the positive again of that loss, for sure” Wawrinka said. “It’s my first semifinal in a Grand Slam, so I had a great tournament.
“Unfortunately today I was a little bit struggling physically. I think that is completely different match than the match we play in the Australian Open. In the Australian Open I had to play my best game to stay with him.
“Today I had the feeling when I was still fit, when I was still healthy I had the match in control. I think I was playing better than him. I was doing much more things than him.
“But he’s not No. 1 for nothing. He was staying with me all the match, and at the end he pushed me, pushed me far, far, far back. I had to find everything I had in my body today to stay with him, and he won the match.
“But, yeah, I think was still a good tournament.”
“Wawrinka was a better player for most of the better part of the match because he was aggressive and played better tennis,” Djokovic said.
”Other hand, me, I just tried to hang on and fight and be mentally tough and believe all the way through I can actually win. And I sincerely believed that as the match progresses and longer it goes, I felt I have maybe that physical edge over him, and that I also, being in particularly these kind of matches and situations, playing on a big stage in semifinals, maybe that experience could, you know, give me a little bit more of confidence on the court mentally, also.
“Even though I was quite nervous at the start of the match and we played five sets I still felt that I was there, you know, and that I was fighting.
“Credit to him for playing really well. We had some great exchanges, you know, in swirly conditions. Definitely not easy to play because you had to always adjust to the where the wind goes and make a lot of footsteps.
“In the end of the day, I managed to stay tough and play well when I needed to. That’s something that definitely encourages me before the final.”
“About Roger (Federer), I’m sure it’s a tough year for him,” the Swiss No. 2 said. “I’m sure next year is going to be much more better because he still have the game, he still is a great champion. I’m sure he need to adapt a few things in his calendar or in his game, but he will find a way how to come back.”
“I love playing on Arthur Ashe,” Djokovic said. “Next to Australian Open that I won four times, I think this is definitely my most successful court that I played on, you know.
“Playing four finals now in a row and five in total, I mean, it’s great. I mean, seven, eight years that I have been coming back here I have played at least semifinals in every US Open. Fantastic.
“I mean, I have this great kind of feeling and atmosphere that goes around US Open. I love the energy here, but I also have a big team of people and I stay at a friend’s house. It’s kind of this family sensation.
“It’s important, you know. It gives me a great deal of motivation, but also comfort, you know, to recover and to always, you know, be fresh on the court.
The victory insures that the 26-year-old Serb will keep his No. 1 ranking after the US Open ends.
Djokovic will play Rafel Nadal in the final on Monday. Nadal defeated Richard Gasquet in straight sets 6-4, 7-6(1), 6-2.
Djokovic spoke about Nadla as a tough competitor: “Well, it’s always the biggest challenge that you can have in our sport now. I mean, he’s the ultimate competitor out there. He’s fighting for every ball and he’s playing probably the best tennis that he ever played on hard courts.
”He hasn’t lost a match on hard court this year, and we all knew that over the course of last six, seven, eight years, hard court hasn’t been his favorite surface.
“He has got injuries, many injuries on this surface, but now he looks fit. He had seven months off. He lost three matches this year. With no doubt he’s the best player in the moment this year, no question about it.”