Defending champion Novak Djokovic reached his 10th straight Grand Slam semifinal at the U.S. Open and will play David Ferrer for a spot in the final.
The other men’s semifinal tomorrow will be between No. 3 Andy Murray of Britain and No. 6 Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic, who upset top-seeded Roger Federer of Switzerland in the quarterfinals.
Djokovic, 25, the second seed from Serbia, advanced to the final four at the U.S. Open for the sixth straight year with a 6-2, 7-6 (7-3), 6-4 win last night against No. 7 Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina that featured an 84-minute second set -- including one game that lasted 17 minutes.
“That second set was crucial, it could have gone either way,” Djokovic said in a news conference. “There were a lot of important and exciting rallies. It was a lot of fun in a way to be a part of this match.”
Ferrer, 30, the fourth seed from Spain, reached his second U.S. Open semifinal, outlasting No. 8 Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia in a fifth-set tiebreaker to end a match that took 4 hours, 31 minutes to complete.
“My opponent, he deserve also to win this match,” Ferrer told reporters. “In one tiebreak it’s a lottery, and I was lucky in important moments.”
The women’s semifinals at the National Tennis Center in New York are set for this afternoon, with three-time champion Serena Williams facing Sara Errani and 2006 champion Maria Sharapova playing top-seeded Victoria Azarenka.
Williams, 30, the fourth seed from the U.S., entered the tournament as the even-money favorite of Las Vegas oddsmakers and has won 36 of her 38 service games so far. Errani, 25, the 10th seed from Italy, had never gotten past the third round of the U.S. Open until this year.
Sharapova, 25, the third seed from Russia, has won each of the four major tournaments once. Azarenka, 23, from Belarus, won this year’s Australian Open in her first Grand Slam final.
Djokovic now is tied with Rod Laver and Ivan Lendl for second place by making 10 straight Grand Slam semifinals. Federer holds the record of 23. All six of Djokovic’s semifinals at the U.S. Open have been against Ferrer or Federer.
Djokovic lifted his career record to 6-2 against Del Potro and is undefeated in 17 U.S. Open matches against lower seeds.
After winning the first set, Djokovic lost his serve at love in the opening game of the second set and trailed 5-3 before battling back to even the set. Del Potro, 23, the 2009 U.S. Open champion, forced the tiebreaker by holding his serve in a 22-point game in which he saved three set points.
Djokovic then took the tiebreaker to grab a two-set lead.
“I had the chance to win that set, but he played really well in the important moments,” Del Potro said in a news conference. “He was too much for me.”
Ferrer beat Tipsarevic 6-3, 6-7 (5-7), 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) in Arthur Ashe Stadium. Momentum shifted several times during the match, with Tipsarevic hitting 60 winners compared with 49 for Ferrer.
Tipsarevic, who held a 4-1 fifth-set lead, lost his footing and fell hard on his left hip as he lost the sixth game of the set. Ferrer then broke Tipsarevic’s serve and followed that by evening the match, eventually forcing the decisive tiebreaker.
Tipsarevic, 28, took an injury timeout in the middle of the ninth game of the final set to have his right leg taped after grabbing his thigh during the previous point.
“Even though it’s really painful, I don’t want to blame that for the loss,” he said in a news conference. “My legs are definitely feeling pain right now.”
Ferrer also reached the 2007 U.S. Open semifinals, losing to Djokovic, and was among the final four at the French Open this year and Australian Open in 2011.
To contact the reporters on this story: Mason Levinson in New York at firstname.lastname@example.org; Rob Gloster in San Francisco at email@example.com
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