| Novak Djokovic |
New York: The weather was much better at the US Open on Sunday. So was Novak Djokovic.
Under a cloudless blue sky, in only a hint of wind, defending champion Djokovic got his game into high gear and reached his third consecutive final at Flushing Meadows by beating fourth-seeded David Ferrer of Spain 2-6, 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 in a match suspended a day earlier.
Ferrer was ahead 5-2 in the semi-final’s opening set Saturday, when wind was whipping at more than 20 mph. Djokovic was shaky, and play was halted because of an impending storm. He held serve to take that set Sunday — and then Djokovic quickly took control, using the brand of defence-to-offence baseline excellence that has carried the Serb to four of the past seven Grand Slam titles.
“We were all praying for less wind today,” Djokovic said. “He handled the wind much better than I did. I came into today as a different player.”
In Monday’s final, Djokovic will face Olympic champion Andy Murray, who beat Tomas Berdych in the semi-finals Saturday. It’s the fifth consecutive year the US Open men’s title match has been played a day later than planned.
The women’s final between Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka that was supposed to be played Saturday night was shifted to Sunday, the fourth time since 2008 the women’s event went long, too.
Murray was able to enjoy a day off Sunday, while Djokovic had to put in some work. But in the end, it wasn’t too taxing: Djokovic played only about two hours and was finished with Ferrer, giving him more than 24 hours to rest before taking on Murray.
“I don’t think there’s any clear favourite,” said Djokovic, who leads the head-to-head series against Murray 8-6 but lost their most recent match-up in the semi-finals of Olympics.
Djokovic extended his winning streak in Grand Slam matches played on hard courts to 27, including titles at last year’s US Open and the Australian Open in 2011 and 2012.
He slides along the surface as though it were red clay, allowing him to use his elastic limbs to contort and stretch to get to opponents' shots that appear to be winners.
Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci added to their career-best year with a US Open doubles title. The second-seeded Italians beat Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka 6-4, 6-2 Sunday for their second Grand Slam championship - and second in three months after they broke through at the French Open.