FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – It was a different Roger Federer at the Open this year. Gone were the days of dominance with the Swiss master looking like he lost a step.
Yet, there he was winning in the Open Semifinals over and in the first set, the old Federer dominated third seeded Novak Djokovic to an easy 6-3 win.
“I hit winners all the way through,” said the second seeded Federer . “It was important, you know, to stay grounded, you know, because I knew that tough times were going to arrive, and that’s exactly happened in the second set. You don’t hit your first serves like maybe you do usually, or the way I was hitting them in the first set. I knew I was always going to get in trouble against such a good player like Novak.”
Djokovic did come back winning the second, 7-5, but Federer shook it off to win in four sets with a 7-5 win in the third and 6-2 in the fourth to proceed to his fifth straight Final in Flushing Meadows.
“This is how I normally play on hardcourt, you know,” Federer said. “Half volleys, passing shots, good serving, putting the pressure on, you know, playing with the wind, you know, using it to my advantage. All those things. I definitely had moments during today where I thought: This is how I would like to play every time. So it was a very nice feeling, actually, to get that feeling back.”
A heavy humidity from impending Tropical Storm Hanna overshadowed the match, which seemed to affect Djokovic move than Federer. It may have been the reason why the 27 year-old had came out strong in the first with a strong serve, putting his Serbian opponent on the defensive.
“[The weather] one of the main issues probably today,” Djokovic said. “I knew that I have to really be 100% fit to win against the player who won four times here. So if you’re not able to hold on then you’re not able to win.”
Yet, Djokovic was able to break the Swiss national twice in the second and led 4-2, but Federer eventually came back to even the set up at five. But the Serbian was able to pull out the second and then led 5-4 in the third, but the crowd was behind Federer, which allowed him comeback in the set.
“It would be great if I do get, you know, a lot of fan support,” Federer said. “I don’t count on it because I’m not American, but I feel a little bit New Yorker right now. So it does feel great. I definitely appreciate, you know, the effort from the fans, you know, supporting me and pushing me forward. I definitely feel it’s helped me throughout this event.”
Although Federer always had the respect of the New York crowd, yesterday’s backing was maybe more than normal, because of the comments Djokovic made after beating Andy Roddick on Thursday night. The Serbian criticized his American opponent after the win because Roddick questioned Djokovic’s injuries. It drew boos from the crowd.
“It was obvious that they are on his side because he’s ex No. 1 and still the second best player in the world and he’s defending champ here four times and people love him. He deserves that support,” said Djokovic who felt his comments the other night were “fair.”
But all of that is in the past and Federer advanced after an easy fourth set and will go for his fifth straight title on Monday.
He will face the winner of the other semifinal, either Rafael Nadal of Andy Murray, which was suspended in the third set due to the rain. Murray leads 2-0 [6-2, 7-6] with the top seed holding a 3-2 lead in the third. The match was moved to Louis Armstrong Stadium and started around 12:30 because the USTA wanted beat the storm.
The rest of the match will be played later today at 4 p.m. with the Woman’s Final between Jelena Jankovic and Serena Williams postponed until 9 p.m. tonight. The Men’s Final will be played tomorrow at 5 p.m. making this the first Open in 21 years to be pushed to an extra Monday.