|Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates defeating Mikhail Youzhny of Russia during his men’s singles semifinal match on September 11, 2010 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City [GALLO/GETTY].|
World number one Rafael Nadal beat 12th-seeded Russian Mikhail Youzhny 6-2, 6-3 and 6-4 on Saturday in the first US Open semi-final. But he is not meeting world number two in the finals.
Roger Federer was beaten by third-seeded Novak Djokovic, whose nail-biting victory in the second semi final robbed the tennis world of what might have been the ultimate grand slam final.
Federer and Nadal have played each other in the final at Wimbledon, the French Open and the Australian Open, but no two men have ever met in the finals of all four Grand Slam tournaments.
Novak Djokovic fought his way back from the brink of defeat to beat Roger Federer. He twice came back from a set down and saved two match points to win 5-7, 6-1, 5-7, 6-2 and 7-5 and join Rafael Nadal at Flushing Meadows on Sunday.
Djokovic will play Nadal in a grand slam final for the first time on Sunday and said he was confident yet realistic. “It’s true that a hard court gives me my best chance against Rafa but he’s still the number one of the world.”
Nadal only needs to win the U.S. Open to complete his collection of grand slam titles. Only six men have achieved the feat and if he wins then he will be the second youngest to do so.
Victory in Flushing Meadows on Sunday would give Nadal a ninth grand slam title, including two Wimbledons and an Australian Open crown.
Nadal said regardless of what he might accomplish at the U.S. Open, where he has lost in the semi-finals in the past two years, he did not feel his career could be compared to Federer, who holds the record for grand slam victories.
“Roger (has) won 16 grand slams already,” noted Nadal, who said the Swiss master’s feat of reaching the semi-finals or better in 23 successive grand slam events was even more remarkable. “That’s something amazing. It’s impossible to repeat, in my opinion,” the Spaniard said.
The U.S. Open has proven the most difficult for the current world number one to win because of the wear and tear the Flushing Meadows hard courts has had on his body. But the lefthander has quickly learnt from his past mistakes and came into this year’s championship in the best shape of his life and with a new and improved serve. His performances have been nothing short of breathtaking. He has reached the final for the first time without losing a single set and dropped just two games on serve.