US Open: Djokovic to face Ferrer in semis

US Open: Djokovic to face Ferrer in semis

Defending champion Novak Jokovic survived a three hour thriller to set-up a semi-final clash with David Ferrer in the men's singles of the US Open tennis.

Ferrer reached the semi-finals for the second time, outlasting Janko Tipsarevic in a fifth-set tiebreaker to end a match that took 4 hours, 31 minutes to complete, at the Flushing Meadow here Thursday night, reports Xinhua.

In the other quarterfinal clash, it was a gruelling three hour fight and an incredible second set that showcased spectacular shotmaking from both Djokovic and 2009 winner Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina.

But the defending champ lived to fight another day with an intense 6-2, 7-6(2), 6-4 win to set up a semi-final meeting with Ferrer. Ferrer, the No. 4 seed from Spain, beat the No. 8 seed from Serbia 6-3, 6-7 (5), 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (4).

"It was an amazing match," Ferrer said. "I don't have words to explain what happened."
Momentum shifted several times during the match, with Tipsarevic hitting 60 winners compared with 49 for Ferrer. The Serb committed more unforced errors, 14 more than his opponent and also 11 more forced errors over Ferrer's 55.

Tipsarevic, 28, who held a 3-0 fifth-set lead, lost his footing and fell hard on his left hip and arm to end the sixth game of the final set up 4-2. Ferrer then broke Tipsarevic's serve and evened the match, eventually forcing the decisive tiebreaker.

Ferrer, 30, also reached the 2007 US Open semi-finals, losing to Djokovic, and was among the final four at the French Open this year and Australian Open in 2011.

Tipsarevic broke first at the first set, but withered then to see two serve breaks from Ferrer, losing the opening set 6-3. The two clung to serves stringently and pushed the set to tiebreak, in which Tipsarevic won by 7-5.

Tipsarevic followed up strong in the third set to break Ferrer twice and snatch an easy 6-2 victory. Ferrer evened the set score after he successfully found the break point in the eighth game taking advantage of a wide volley from Tipsarevic to end 22-shot rally and grabbed it after Tipsarevic hit the net. Ferrer served straight four points to clinch the set 6-4.

Meanwhile, Djokovic improved his career record 6-2 against Del Potro. Djokovic's 17th win against lower seeds put him into his sixth straight semifinal, breaking a tie with John McEnroe for fourth in consecutive US Open semi-finals.

The win also put Djokovic on tie with Rod Laver and Ivan Lendl for second place with 10 straight Grand Slam semi-finals. Roger Federer, the No. 1 seed who was beaten last Wednesday night by Tomas Berdych, holds the record of 23.

"Even though it was a straight-set match, it was much closer than the score indicated," Djokovic said. "I was lucky in the second set to get out with a two-set advantage. We played some incredible rallies and incredible points."

Del Potro's ability to overpower his opponents by blasting the ball from the baseline, a strategy that carried him all the way past Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer for the 2009 championship, was nowhere to be seen in the first set.

Rather than controlling with his serves, del Potro faltered in the rallies and committed too many unforced errors (11) and not enough winners (6), while Djokovic stole the show with 12 winners and six unforced errors. The Serbian took command of his return games, converting on two of five break point chances.

Del Potro, far removed from the grass courts of the Olympics at Wimbledon, where he last beat Djokovic for the bronze medal, was broken early in the third set. And against a player like Djokovic, staging a comeback is a monumental task - one that del Potro could not overcome. But he never gave up. Right down to the last point, del Potro ran down every impossible shot, scrambling well behind the baseline to counterpunch the Djokovic defensive attack before conceding the match.

"The other guys are still playing better than me, so it's going to take some time for me to get closer to them," del Potro said. "But I'm working very hard every day so that maybe I can have a chance to be with that group again."