x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Djokovic plays his 'best tennis' to beat Wawrinka to the US Open final

The Serb and world No 1 reached a fourth consecutive semi-final but not before he was stretched again by his Swiss rival.

Stanislas Wawrinka was ahead 2-1 but lost the semi-final. Justin Lane / EPA
Stanislas Wawrinka was ahead 2-1 but lost the semi-final. Justin Lane / EPA

Novak Djokovic won an epic match against Stanislas Wawrinka for the second time this year to reach a fourth consecutive US Open final.

The pair played arguably the best match of the season at the Australian Open, which Djokovic eventually won 12-10 in the fifth set, and the latest edition was only slightly less dramatic.

Wawrinka twice led as he looked to follow up his win over defending champion Andy Murray with an even bigger scalp, but Djokovic is a master of coming through such matches and so it proved again.

The world No 1 was never at his best but he had more left in the tank in the fifth set and ground out a 2-6, 7-6(4), 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory after four hours and nine minutes. Djokovic said: “These matches are what we live for, what we practice for. I was so fortunate to play my best tennis when I needed to.”

The first set was a horror show from Djokovic, who dropped his serve three times in a row, throwing in four double faults.

The second went to a tie-break, after Wawrinka had saved three break points in the fourth game. Djokovic came out on top, to level the match, but inexplicably played a terrible game to be broken to love and lose the third set.

This was a new position for Wawrinka, who has not beaten Djokovic since 2006. A double fault handed his opponent a 2-0 lead at the start of the fourth set which Djokovic held on to.

Wawrinka was beginning to look tired in the fifth, but the Swiss held on to his serve to lead 2-1 in the decider after a remarkable game that lasted 21 minutes.

However, Djokovic held his next service game and then finally broke serve to lead 3-2. There was no comeback for Wawrinka.

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