No surprise on the men's side: Djokovic, Federer cruise into final

There may have been a stunner on the women’s side on Friday at the U.S. Open, but the men’s semifinals could not have been more straightforward.

And dominance by Roger Federer in the nightcap could not have been less surprising. Federer, who did not drop a set en route to the Cincinnati title last month and is doing the same so far in New York, clobbered fellow Swiss Stan Wawrinka 6-4, 6-3, 6-1 to reach his first final at this event since 2009.

The 34-year-old fired 10 aces while double-faulting only twice and he was not broken a single time. He finished with more winners than Wawrinka (29 to 25) despite committing almost half as many unforced errors (17 to 30).

“(I) didn’t play my best game,” Wawrinka lamented. “Didn’t serve well and everything. But basically it’s him; the way he’s playing. [Since] Wimbledon, he is starting already at the different level. He came back (in) Cincinnati at a completely different level. Here also. If [he keeps] this level, he’s going to be tough to beat.”

“I wasn’t quite sure if I was going to play this aggressive against Stan, because when he’s on he presents a very different challenge [from] all the players I have played thus far in this tournament,” Federer explained. “But now that I have been able to do it also against Stan definitely gives me confidence that maybe I can also do it against Novak (Djokovic) this way.”

It will be Federer vs. Djokovic on Sunday because the world No. 1 made extremely quick work of Marin Cilic in the first semifinal. Hobbled by a minor ankle injury, Cilic–the defending champion–bowed out in 6-0, 6-1, 6-2 blowout.

Djokovic faced only one break point and saved it easily early in the second set. The top-seeded Serb committed a mere 13 errors as he booked a spot in his fourth major final of the year (he is 2-1 in title matches, losing only to Wawrinka at the French Open).

“It felt great to be able to perform as well as I did today at this stage of a tournament, knowing that Marin carried that injury for last couple of matches,” Djokovic commented. “I didn’t allow that fact to distract me too much. I just wanted to concentrate on what I needed to do on the court and come out with the right intensity.

“All in all, it was from my side a very solid match and I take that as a confidence booster for the final.”

Get your popcorn ready for that final. No. 1 vs. No. 2–it doesn’t get any better.

77 Comments on No surprise on the men's side: Djokovic, Federer cruise into final

    • Good decision. I mean she won the biggest title of her life and called it quits.She anyway is engaged to Fabio and wants to marry soon and start her family asap.

      • That was enjoyable to watch and what a refreshing prize giving. No tedious speeches from the men in suits. No endless litany of thanks trotted out by the two players. Just sheer joy from both girls. For good measure I swear Roberta was as pleased for Flavia as if she’d won herself.

  1. Just see this tweet from Boris 5 minutes back. Can you believe this? Boris is literally playing mind games with Roger on Novaks behalf? I wonder what strategy they have

    Boris Becker ‏@TheBorisBecker 2m2 minutes ago
    Let’s have some fun with #SABR since it caused a lot of headlines this week….

  2. That was something else to see Pennetta win and then announce her retirement! What a way to go out! Congratulations!

  3. It would be imperative for Federer to not get involved in many long baseline rallies with Novak. I feel he will try his ultra aggressive game plan right from the beginning. But if it backfires we might see a similar match like their Wimbledon 2015 final with Novak being the eventual winner in 3 or 4 sets. At his age, Federer’s level can fluctuate drastically between matches and even during a match.
    In their last two Wimbledon finals, Fed’s serve was OK, nothing special. But he couldn’t get a read on Novak’s serve all through the match. Novak hits a high percentage of first serves. Besides, Novak usually wins a lot of points on his second serve. So, its not easy to break him on these faster courts. At the same time, Fed also doesn’t get broken often as long as he keeps serving well which he does on most occasions. That leads to one or two tri-breakers or 7-5 kind of score in almost every match these two play these days. A long set or two takes its toll on Fed more and it leads to lapses in concentration in the next one or two sets which he surrenders without much fight. I am expecting a similar story to unfold tomorrow unless Fed manages to win the first two sets. Then also the match may go to five sets, but Fed will still have chances to win. But in all likelihood, its going to be Novak who will be the last man standing.
    Novak in 4.

  4. During this tournament, Novak has won 66% of his second serves, where as Federer’s has won 59% on an average. In case of Federer, this stat will be even worse in the final as Novak has such a deadly ROS. To compensate this, Federer needs to have very good serving day (more than 70% of first serve).

    • He will! Fed is ready!
      And BB making “fun” of Fed’s new return tactics only shows that Nole’s camp is afraid. It exposes their own weaknesses…BB better shut up and start biting his nails as that is what he will do during the finals…
      BB arrogance and induced ridicule do no good to Novak….

  5. My take on the Novak camp – I’m sure they’re ready for Fed. BB just doing his job of playing mind games to help Novak. I don’t think Novak needs much help though, it’s not like he hasn’t faced the SABR of Fed prior to this. To me Fed revealed his weapon too soon at Cincy, giving Novak’s team time to think of a counter strategy.

    I like the Nadal camp better, not revealing anything until the final of FO2014 with Rafa’s one two punch and FH DTL strategy that Novak couldn’t solve (the problem) on the court during the match.

    • Lucky, I think Fed will use it as an element of surprise and not very frequently. It may or may not win him the point, but it will be in Novak’s mind all the time while serving. Let us see if this tactic has any impact on how Novak delivers his second serve. I wont be surprised if he makes some double faults at crucial junctures of the match like he did in cincy. Neither will I be surprised if Novak finds a way the negate its effect.

      • The only problem with the SABR is that Novak won’t know when Fed will use it. I don’t see Novak double faulting. He’s been serving extremely well with both his first and second serves. This is not Cincy. This is the USO. This is a best of five match. It may well be true that Fed gave it away too early. But there is also a possibility of Fed putting some new wrinkle in his attack. He won’t want Novak to know what’s coming either. It’s like a chess match.

    • Sorry what was this one two punch and FH DTL strategy? Rafa always tries to go for FH DTL with Novak, it is his money shot against Novak.

      I saw him using body serve a lot against Novak in FO 2014 which was a surprise.

      • Rafa was going FH DTL when Novak was expecting a CCFH and so Novak was camping at his BH corner waiting for the CC shot and so he was late time and again to rush to his FH corner to return Rafa’s DTL shot. The DTL shot wasnt a running FH shot but Rafa was camping at his own FH corner and made Novak guessing which way he was going.

  6. Both men are playing for high stakes. I’m staying with my theory (which has held up time and time again) it will be the one to whom it matters most who will blink first. In this instance I would say Djokovic has the most to lose. For Federer the win would be the icing on the cake.

    Federer in 4

    • Why does Djoko have more to lose ed? He is not the defending champion here? He has already locked the YE No 1. Fed has a lot to lose too as he is trying for No 18 now since past 12 slams.

      • Sanju. Fed has secured his place in history regardless of the outcome of this match. Djokovic has already suffered a double whammy by failing to RG and complete his career Slam and then missed out on the elusive Golden Masters crown at Cincy. Ergo, he badly wants this win to prepare for another try to own all four Slams simultaneously.

      • The 4 in a row thing again will get ultra tiring. Already been there and suffered in 2011-2012 a lot..Not again with all those Djoko bots screaming from their roof tops.

      • Sanju,

        I agree with you. Novak doesn’t have anything to lose. He’s already won two slams and has year end #1 locked up. I see it the way you do. In fact, I think there is a great deal of pressure on Fed to get this. How long has he been trying to win another slam? Rafa is going to come back next year. This is his time.

  7. @ Mark
    I am of the same mind provided it doesn’t go to a 5th set If Fed plays with the same carefree freedom (with or without the SABR) I am certain it will force Djokovic into making errors and he will get rattled as he has in most of his matches this fortnight. Woe betide him if he retaliates by gunning for Federer. Stan tried that and look what happened.

    • Its a slam final so Fed wont be carefree. Who knows how many more slam finals left for him? Of course Fed will be nervous too. He seemed carefree vs Murray at Wimbledon but wasnt the same when in the final.

      Ive made the mistake of underestimating Novak so Im not going to do that again. Novak somehow can raise his level when he needs to. I think the only place Novak is/was overcome by nerve and couldnt raise his level is/was at the FO, for obvious reason.

      • It’s a question of degree. I agree Fed will be less carefree than we’ve seen so far but I am still convinced he will cause Djokovic to be more tense and prone to errors – as long as the match doesn’t go the distance.

  8. I’ll bet that the Novak of Wimbledon 2015 will turn up to play. To me its Fed who wants it more, not Novak. Novak has time on his side, unlike Fed. Fed missed a very good chance last year so he will be more eager to get this one.

    • This is what I am thinking. Even though I am going back and forth with my prediction, I sense that Novak will come out and play some great tennis. I also absolutely agree that Fed wants it more. Novak will have his chances. He’s in the prime of his career.

  9. Going back to the Ladies Championships, the presentation ceremony was tailored made for Serena with 2 African American women in attendance just like the presentation ceremony at the AO 2009 had been tailored made for Roger beating Rafa.

    The Americans did well in swallowing their disappointment with dignity which the Australians couldn’t manage.

    • ^^^lol. You’re right the crowd were exemplary during the match and the presentation. In fact throughout the tournament I was impressed by the even handed support shown by the crowd to all the competitors (Donald Young matches being the exception).

      It didn’t happen during the final but I’ve been puzzled why in all other matches the spectators were constantly coming and going. Surely the marshals and security guys should have kept them under better control. The poor referees had to keep calling for them to sit down in the nearest seat so play could resume.

      • I’ve heard commies say the USO is loud and that’s the way it is, players just have to get used to people moving around with loud announcers promoting all sorts of things around the grounds and music between change of ends.

    • I thought they will get Steffi to present the award to Serena. Maybe Steffi declined as Steffi has happily given it all up and just does not want to be in the limelight anymore. She is happy being a mother and wife, running her charity and ofcourse managing her business with Andre.

      • I don’t get the idea that the player whose record has been broken should be happy about it. Who wants to see someone displace them in the annals of tennis history. I hope Rafa never has to present a trophy to another player surpassing his record at the FO…………he sure won’t be doing it happily.

  10. I am still torn as to whom to root for in todays final. I was clear in both Wimby’s that I was supporting Novak over Fed so that Fed stays at 7 in Wimby and does not inch closer to Rafa’s 9 at RG . Somehow I am inching towards Fed here. Either way its choosing between devil and deep sea.

    Reason I am inching towards Fed here is so that Novak gets stopped 🙂 and the chance of Rafa catching 17 now looks very remote, so 18 does not matter . If he manages to win 1 more slam, anything is possible thereafter as the confidence will come rushing back.

    • sanju, I agree with you. Fed has reached the level of diminishing returns in adulation from the media. One more slam would be neither here nor there, but if Djoker wins, the new media mantra about him is that he is super human, and a player from another planet, both of which do not really ring true. True he has achieved the best results in recent years, but as for being from another planet, I don’t think so.

    • He wont retire so soon now that Novak is another threat to his slam record.

      It makes no difference to us or Rafa who of Fed or Novak wins this USO. However, I cant stand the press or media or those commies who are mostly Fed supporters; just imagine how they would behave if Fed wins this. Theyre simply unbearable!

    • If by diminishing returns you mean results, then Roger is still doing better than Nadal at the moment. If by diminishing returns you mean a reduction in fan base, I suggest you visit the Open once.
      And more importantly, a player like Federer never loses his value. Borg didn’t and Roger won’t. They’re both the cornerstones of their respective generations. In fact, the bigger the underdog you make him, the more people will pull for him.

      • +1.

        For a Rafan, nadline10 spends an unhealthy portion of her time discussing Roger Federer. Anybody would think he mattered!

  11. Ricky’s Poll now has almost twice as many votes for Fed to win than for Djokovic. It can’t be explained by multiple voting because this site screens for that trick.

      • Novak has been reduced to a very slight 4/5 favourite no doubt due to increased betting on Roger after his lethal performances this week. Roger is 6/5.

        If 2015 Novak shows up, Roger will definitely win. Stan said Roger is at another level since Wimbly. I’ve said the same.

        That and Novak can’t typically handle the conditions in the finals at the USO.

        The crowd will have a big impact.

        I’ll be pulling for the spoiler but impressive if Fed does it. He will regain his GOAT status in my view if he does.

        Roger in three most likely, if not four.

        Ajde Nole!!!!!!


    • ed, i can remember just before the wimby final the bbc did one of their polls asking who would win and there was a huge result in favour of fed – something like 75% to 25% – i can remember roddick who was doing the commentary with henman saying ‘with all due respect to the viewers you are out of your mind if you think those are the real odds…’
      is more a poll about popularity no??

    • Ed, it is explained by the fact that Federer has many admirers who visit this site but leave the comments section to the more rabid breed of Rafan who made the old tennistalk site their own domain (and which, similarly, returned Federer atop many an opinion poll) before it was understandably discontinued. And that happened when Nadal was in his pomp. Given that vamosbrigade leads the way among Nadal fan sites, it is to be hoped that the Grandstand will accommodate a spectrum of views especially now that RN is not the story. Otherwise you have to wonder how long it can realistically continue. It has reached the point where in-fighting among the Rafans is now the norm, a classic end-of-empire trope.

      I give it six months.

  12. I’ve often said Roger looks good in the earlier rounds because his weak draw made him look good until he hits Rafa (or an in-form Nole).

    This time is different.

  13. Amy: Agree it is probably driven by wishful thinking. It is still strange though because this site is not awash with Fedfans and the comments by posters are more evenly split.

  14. For me what it really comes down to in my opinion today is nerves and Roger simply doesn’t give an inch mentally.

    Nole is good but it only takes getting tight on a few critical points to make the difference between winning and losing.

    • fed is mentally stronger than nole??that’s debatable…ok nole will get worked up about the crowd being on his back and that could be his undoing but fed is capable of getting rattled by nole’s ros in particular as we saw at wimby…
      seem to remember that fed got very tight in the first set tie-breaker at wimby…if he does that again today then nole will probably win..

      • All players get tight. Even the best ones do. In the end, it’s a matter of semantics because you or I don’t know what goes on between a player’s ears. Federer has always been the one with more to lose-a side effect of the career he built-so the pressure on him is often multiplied as compared to the other guy. I’ll say he’s done an excellent job.

    • Roger a mental monster? You serious? He has lost 9 slam finals and lost many matches being match points up.

      Roger is definitely not the mentally strongest player on tour.

      • That’s not really an indicator of anything actually. Even on Roger’s worst days, it used to be damn hard to beat him. So everyone came looking like a hero against him every time they scored a victory. He’s made finals where he was far from his best. Both 2008/09 have those.

      • Does not change the fact that he has lost many many important matches in his career to both Rafa and Nole. He is not mentally the strongest player on tour by any long shot.

      • Most of the matches he’s lost to Novak are after he turned 30. So they’re not even indicators of mental toughness as far as I’m concerned. It’s a still a good and a very even match-up, even at majors.

        Nadal was a straight up poor match for him in core, technical sense so he was under even more pressure and then he got mono and the rivalry turned completely. Happens. He’s still the best as far as I’m concerned. It’s far easy to look ‘mentally tough’ when you’re a defensive player, playing on slow courts mostly, against a favourable match-up. For an attacker in an era tailor-made for backboarders, I repeat, Roger is the best.

  15. A terrific US open for India and Switzerland already with Paes and Mirza winning mixed doubles and doubles with Hingis 🙂

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