We've finally arrived at our first men's Marquee Matchup of the US Open and it's a rematch of last year's final. Second seeded Roger Federer, who's looking to make it five straight championships, will face third seeded Novak Djokovic for a place in the final Sunday.
An emotive Roger Federer got past qualifier Gilles Muller in 3 tight, high-quality sets defeating the lad from Luxembourg 7-6 (5), 6-4, 7-6 (5). The Swiss stylist hit 42 winners to 19 errors, won 86% of his first serves, and made 15 of 24 net approaches - gawdy stuff.
A smack-talking Nole schooled a frustrated Andy Roddick dismissing the former US Open champ 6-2, 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (5). The Serb managed 53 winners against 28 errors, matched A-Rod with 15 aces, and was perfect on break point chances going 5 for 5.
The last time these ballers met was at this year's Monte Carlo Masters when Nole pulled out of their semifinal match with a sore throat, dizziness, and fatigue. Something tells me we won't be seeing any withdrawals in this semifnal showdown.
Here's Fed on meeting up with Nole again:
Only played twice since, Australian Open and Monaco. We haven't played that much really. He gave up in Monaco, which was only one set on clay. Really the only one we can look back at is almost the Australian Open.Nole had this to say about facing Fed in the final four:
But there I didn't think I did my really very best. I hope this time around it's going to be something similar to the US Open, you know, hard‑fought tennis from the baseline.
You know, if we were to play, he's definitely gained in experience. You know, he's played in bigger matches and, you know, deep into the tournaments he's been very consistent with his young age and won his first slam.
So things have changed for him, no doubt.
As I said on the court, he's absolute favorite in that match, and for him, it's a big challenge now to win another Slam, and to at least stay in the race with Rafa to be No. 1 player of the world and end of the year, still big chances, of course.Outlook: Fed's form has definitely improved over the last month or so since Wimbledon. He was able to claw his way out of his 5-setter against Igor Andreev and has become much more outwardly expressive, pumping himself up on big points and celebrating his wins. However, his forehand is still shaky, particularly when running out wide, and his footwork has seemed slower than in past years.
It's a bit strange, though, to see No. 2 next to his name, you know. He was so dominant in last couple of years, and I lost to him here the finals last year. I took some, well, necessary thoughts, and things out of that match, so I can improve in the next challenges, and/or next encounters, and I won against him this year in Australian Open. That was my best tournament of the career, and against him, that was one of my best matches.
Hopefully I can do the same. I just need to be myself and need to be aggressive.
These issues are worrisome against a baller like Nole who will run everything down forcing his opponents into low-percentage shot making. Nole has much more experience on the big stage now and has already defeated the former no. 1 in a major this year.
Nole seems like a man on a mission, with a chip on his shoulder and something to prove. I think this attitude coupled with his growing game will push him past Fed and put him through to his second consecutive US Open final.
(images via Getty)