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Djokovic Beats Ferrer, Sets Murray Clash In Final

New York, U.S.A.

Djokovic© Getty ImagesDefending champion Novak Djokovic is through to his third straight US Open final.

Defending champion Novak Djokovic advanced to his third straight US Open final after coming back Sunday to defeat Spaniard David Ferrer 2-6, 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 in a match played over two days.

The 25-year-old Serbian is attempting to become the first player since Roger Federer in 2008 to successfully defend the US Open title, and will play No. 3 seed Andy Murray for the title on Monday. Djokovic has not lost a match at a hard court major since his defeat to Rafael Nadal in the 2010 US Open final, a streak of 27 matches.

"It's a great relief obviously to get it over with in four sets," said Djokovic. "As well I was a different player. I felt much more comfortable on the court today than I did yesterday. Obviously the conditions were more brutal for all of us who played yesterday... Ferrer was I think coping with the conditions much better than I did. He was handling it great. I didn't find any rhythm, so I didn't mind getting off the court yesterday, to be honest, and coming in today."

Play had been suspended with Ferrer serving at 5-2 in the first set on super Saturday due to severe weather alerts. But the Spaniard picked up where he left off when the match resumed Sunday morning with a quick hold, causing the World No. 2 to lose his first set of the 2012 US Open.

Djokovic immediately gained control of the second, racing out to a 4-0 lead with two breaks of serve. He won five straight points in the fifth game to negate Ferrer’s triple break point opportunity, and saved another break point chance up 5-1 before clinching the game on his fourth set point.

After winning a 24-shot rally to start the third set, Djokovic used his aggressive play to secure the early service break as Ferrer hit a backhand into the net. The World No. 5 fought back as the pair continued to engage in lengthy rallies, getting back on serve at 2-all, but Djokovic went back up a break at 4-3. He won his next two service games at love, highlighted by a 123 mph ace on triple set point.

Ferrer was unable to get back into the match as Djokovic opened the fourth set with another break and maintained the momentum to establish a 4-0 lead. The defending champion closed out the victory on serve after two hours and 23 minutes, picking up his circuit-best 60th match win of the season and improving to a 9-5 record against the 30 year old.

Ferrer, playing in his 40th Grand Slam tournament, had been looking to reach his first major final after three previous semi-final exits. He also lost to Djokovic in the 2007 US Open semi-finals.

"Yesterday was windy; yesterday was better for me," he admitted. "I played better because maybe Novak he didn't play so good in the start of the match. But every match is different. Every day is different. You wake up with a different feeling."

The Spaniard had rallied from a break down in his quarter-final match again Janko Tipsarevic on Thursday, edging the Serbian in a fifth-set tie-break. "I made a semi-final in Grand Slam; my second time in the semi-final here at US Open. This was the best of my career," he said. "Of course I am very positive. I am very happy with myself and with my performance."

Djokovic will take an 8-6 lead in the FedEx ATP Head2Head series into his match against Murray, but the pair has split their four meetings this year, with the British No. 1 winning their most recent clash in the London 2012 Olympics semi-finals. The reigning gold medallist advanced with a 5-7, 6-2, 6-1, 7-6(7) victory over Tomas Berdych in windy conditions Saturday.

"Most of our matches that we played against each other were very close, and only small margins decide the winner," said Djokovic. "That's something that is expected in a way, because we have similar games. We are big rivals and we have been in top of the men's game for a long time, so we know each other really well.

"The last match he has won in Olympic Games - also close one - but it's a different surface, obviously. With the different surface different tactics apply, so we'll see. Tomorrow I guess there is no clear favourite."

Djokovic, who also reached the US Open final in 2007 (l. to Federer), is chasing his sixth Grand Slam title. Murray is attempting to win his first after runner-up finishes in his first four finals.

The championship match will be contested on Monday for a fifth straight year and will begin at 10pm CEST/4pm EST.

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