Roger Federer reaches final

New York, September 7:

Roger Federer beat Novak Djokovic 6-3, 5-7, 7-5, 6-2 to move within one victory of a fifth consecutive US Open championship and 13th Grand Slam title overall on Saturday.

However, storm hit the New York area in the afternoon, dumping enough rain to force the suspension of the semi-final between No 1 Rafael Nadal and No 6 Andy Murray, with Murray up 6-2, 7-6 (5), 2-3. The weather also forced the postponement of the women’s final between Serena Williams and Jelena Jankovic, originally scheduled for Saturday. Instead, that will be played on Sunday, when Nadal and Murray will also resume. Federer was asked about his preferred foe for the final. “Who do I prefer? I prefer the trophy, that’s what I prefer,” Federer said, drawing a roar of approval from the fans. And then came an answer that might surprise some.

Federer has won 33 straight matches at Flushing Meadows and reached 13 of the past 14 Grand Slam finals. The one gap in that span was the Australian Open in January, when Djokovic upset Federer in the semi-finals en route to the title.

Federer, who is chasing Pete Sampras’ record of 14 career major championships, began flawlessly. He compiled seven winners and no unforced errors as he raced to a 4-1 lead. The real Djokovic showed up in the second set, striking shots more crisply, pressuring Federer more consistently. When Federer served while trailing 6-5, Djokovic earned three set points, three chances to pull even.

On the first, Djokovic sailed a forehand long. On the second, Federer wrong-footed Djokovic with a cross-court forehand winner. The third set progressed steadily, neither man asserting himself, until Djokovic served at 5-5. Federer won the next two games to win the third set before closing out the match in the next set 6-2.