|Novak Djokovic saved two match points against Roger Federer to win their US Open semi-final [Reuters]
Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal will meet in the US Open final for the second year in a row after winning their semi-final matches on a day of unrelenting drama and precision tennis at Flushing Meadows on Saturday.
Djokovic showed why he is on top form in the game right now when he saved two match points to roar back from the brink of defeat and beat Roger Federer in a five-set thriller that whipped the Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd into a frenzy of excitement.
Nadal then powered past Britain's Andy Murray 6-4 6-2 3-6 6-2 to set up a mouthwatering rematch between the top two players in the world.
Nadal beat Djokovic a year ago to complete his collection of grand slam titles but the Serbian has had his measure against the Spaniard this year.
"I've lost my last five matches against him, five finals," said Nadal.
"He's obviously the favourite for the final, and I know I have to do something better than those other matches to try and change the situation."
Djokovic from the brink
For Djokovic, who has already won two grand slam titles this year, at the Australian Open and Wimbledon, there was just relief that he made the final after he survived a pulsating contest with Federer that could have gone either way.
Federer won the first two sets then regained his composure to lead 5-3 in the fifth set.
The Swiss maestro, a five-time champion at Flushing Meadows served for the match and had two match points, but Djokovic saved them both and won the last four games to complete an incredible comeback.
"It's a sport where one wins, one loses," Djokovic said. "We have a saying, 'what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.'"
For Federer, it was a heart-breaking loss. He may have won more grand slam titles in the men's professional game, but his last was at the 2010 Australian Open.
"Sure, it's disappointing, but I have only myself to blame,"said Federer. "I set it all up perfect, but I couldn't finish it."
"It hurts, but it's fine. It could be worse. It could be a final," said Federer.
Murray, again facing Nadal in a grand slam semi-final, never really threatened the Spanish defending champion, although he had the consolation of taking a set off him, a feat that none of his other opponents have managed at the US Open this year.
Murray played aggressively, cracking 44 winners, 13 more than Nadal, but his 55 unforced errors was more than twice his opponent's total.
The world number four made the semi-finals of all four grand slams this year but is still searching for his first major win.
"It's something I want to try and achieve, but if you want to judge someone's whole career based purely on slams, I would have had a terrible career," said Murray.
Three-time champion Serena Williams booked her place in the womens final by ending the US Open hopes of world number one Caroline Wozniacki with a commanding display in their semi-final.
The 29-year-old American belied her seeding of 28 as she powered through 6-2 6-4 on the Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Williams has yet to drop a set at Flushing Meadows as she closes in the 14th Grand Slam title of her career.
She will now play ninth seed Sam Stosur in the final after the Australian beat Germany's Angelique Kerber 6-3 2-6 6-2.