08 Sep 2013

Djokovic survives thrilling encounter with Wawrinka

News Article

Photo: Paul ZimmerNovak Djokovic (SRB) - 2013 US Open

It was thought that if the semifinal between world No. 1 Novak Djokovic and Stanislas Wawrinka was even half as exciting as their encounter at the Australian Open earlier this year that the US Open crowd would be in for a treat.

In fact, the clash on Arthur Ashe exceeded expectation as both players produced tennis of a stunning quality to leave a full house on their feet for the spectacle they had just witnessed.

With Wawrinka playing agressive and hitting wondrous winners off both flanks, it was all Djokovic could do to hang in there for the first half of the match.

But the Serbian showed off his impressive defensive skills to fight his way back and in the fifth set simply had too much class for the battling Swiss.

A key game had to be the 21-minute third game of the fifth set in which both players had chance after chance to clinch it only for one or other to produce something out of the ordinary.

Speaking after the match an obviously relieved Djokovic said: "Wawrinka was a better player for most of the better part of the match because he was aggressive and played better tennis.

"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.

"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."

Djokovic, who by reaching the last two at the US Open is assured of keeping his world No. 1 ranking no matter the outcome, will play the in-form Rafael Nadal in the final on Monday.

The Spaniard, who is undefeated on hard courts this year, came through without dropping a set against France's Richard Gasquet 64 76(1) 62.

The day was rounded off with the women's doubles final, which was won by Czech pair Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka, who defeated Australians Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua 67(4) 61 64.

Speaking of what it means to the Czech people, Hradecka said: "I got a lot of the messages. One was our Fed Cup captain that he write me. Okay, now we can go sleep, so well done.

"I think a lot of people watch the TV, watch the screen, and I think a lot of people are happy, because [we] got the Grand Slam. It's for like our small country something big."