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US Open Saturday Preview: Djokovic, Nadal Headline SF Action

New York, U.S.A.

Djokovic© Getty ImagesFormer champions Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal are in action on Saturday.

• The semi-finals on Saturday feature two familiar faces with the world’s top two players and former US Open champions Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. The other semi-finalists are making their first final four showing at the US Open, No. 8 seed Richard Gasquet and No. 9 Stanislas Wawrinka. Gasquet is appearing in his second career Grand Slam semi-final (’07 Wimbledon) and Wawrinka in his first semi-final showing in a major.

• Djokovic brings a 12-2 career record (7-1 on hard courts) against Wawrinka, winning the past 10 meetings. The 26-year-old Serb is trying to reach his fourth straight US Open final and fifth overall. He’s only dropped one set thus far and has been broken five times. Djokovic is appearing in his 14th straight major semi-final (seventh in a row at the US Open), the second-longest in Grand Slam history (behind Federer’s 23). He is looking to advance to his third Grand Slam final of the season and 12th of his career (6-5). Wawrinka has defeated No. 5 Tomas Berdych and No. 3/defending champion Andy Murray in the last two rounds en route to his first Grand Slam semi-final. Wawrinka, who was a quarter-finalist here three years ago (l. to Youzhny), has a career-high seven Top 10 wins this season, all coming since April. His seven Top 10 wins are the third-most on the ATP World Tour this season, behind Nadal (15) and Djokovic (10). The Swiss No. 2 is 0-12 lifetime against World No. 1 players.

• Nadal is 10-0 lifetime against Gasquet, who is the first Frenchman to reach the semi-finals at the US Open since Cedric Pioline in 1999 (l. to T. Martin). Pioline is also the only Frenchman in the Open Era to reach the final at the US Open in 1993 (l. to Sampras). Nadal is a career-best 20-0 on hard courts this season and overall an ATP World Tour best 58-3. He has advanced to the final in 11 of 12 tournaments, winning nine titles. The 27-year-old Spaniard has not lost serve in his five matches en route to his fifth US Open semi-final, holding all 67 service games. Overall, Nadal’s serving streak is 82 games in a row. He hasn’t lost serve since the second set in the semi-finals vs Tomas Berdych at ATP Masters 1000 Cincinnati on Aug. 17. He went on to win the title (d. Isner). Gasquet comes into the semi-finals after back-to-back five-set wins over No. 10 seed Milos Raonic and No. 4 David Ferrer. It’s the first time since ’05 US Open he’s won two five-set matches in the same tournament but first time in back-to-back fashion. Gasquet, who was a semi-finalist at Wimbledon in ’07. The last French man to win the tournament title was Henri Cochet in 1928 (also won in ’26). Rene Lacoste was the other French champion in 1927.

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(1) Novak Djokovic (SRB) vs (9) Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI)       Djokovic Leads 12-2

• Top seed Djokovic is trying to reach his fourth straight final here, fifth overall at US Open and his 12th Grand Slam final overall. He has an 11-9 career record in Grand Slam semi-final matches
• Wawrinka is bidding to reach a Grand Slam final for the first time and is also attempting to defeat a World No. 1 for the first time in his career (0-12 record)


US Open History

• Has a 44-7 record and has lost one set in first five matches, broken five times (has won four bagel sets): 
o 1R (Tues.) – d. Ricardas Berankis (LTU) 61 62 62 in 1h22m (10 aces, saved 7 of 8 BP, broke 7 times)
o 2R (Fri.) – d. Benjamin Becker (GER) 76 62 62 in 1h51m (13 aces, broken once, converted 5 of 14 BP)
o 3R (Sun.) – d. Joao Sousa (POR) 60 62 62 in 1h40m (3 aces, broken once, converted 8 of13 BP)
o 4R (Tues.) – d. Marcel Granollers (ESP) 63 60 60 in 1h19m (converted 7 of 14 BP, won 45 of 53 srv pts)
o QF (Thu.) – d. No. 21 Mikhail Youzhny (RUS) 63 62 36 60 in 2h34m (conv. 7 of 12 BP, saved 8 of 10 BP)
• Appearing in his seventh consecutive US Open semifinal. Only three other men have reached more than seven straight US Open semifinals in Open Era – Jimmy Connors (12), Roger Federer (8) and Ivan Lendl (8)
• Has reached the final the past three years – runner-up in 2010 (l. to Nadal), won title in 2011 (d. Nadal) and runner-up last year (l. to Murray). Also runner-up in 2007 (l. to Federer)
• His earliest loss was 3R in 2005 (l. to Verdasco) and 2006 (l. to Hewitt) 

CONSECUTIVE GRAND SLAM SF APPEARANCES (since 1925) – Djokovic is playing in his 14th straight Grand Slam SF.  He is in second place behind Roger Federer (23) for the most consecutive Grand Slam SF appearances. The last time he failed to reach the SF at a major was when he lost to Jurgen Melzer in the quarterfinals at 2010 Roland Garros:


US Open History:
• Has a 23-8 career record and appearing in first career Grand Slam SF. Here is a look at his road to SF:
o 1R (Wed.) - d. Radek Stepanek (CZE) 76 63 62 in 2h32m (7 aces, conv. 6 of 13 BP, saved 4 of 7 BP)
o 2R (Fri.) - d. Q-Ivo Karlovic (CRO) 75 76 64 in 2h17m (9 aces, converted 3 of 7 BP, broken once)
o 3R (Sun.) - d. Marcos Baghdatis (CYP) 63 62 67 76 in 3h21m (11 aces, conv. 6 of 14 BP, saved all 3 BP) 
o 4R (Tues.) – d. No. 5 Tomas Berdych (CZE) 36 61 76 62 in 2h47m (conv. 6 of 11 BP, broken 3 times)
o QF (Thurs.) – d. No. 3 Andy Murray (GBR) 64 63 62 in 1 2h15m (conv. 4 of 11 BP, never faced BP)
• Trying to reach his first final. Three years ago lost in QF (d. No. 4 Murray in 3R, l. to Youzhny in five sets). 
• Last year retired due to illness in 4R (vs. No. 2 Djokovic). His only opening round loss came in 2009 when he lost to Ecuadorian Nicolas Lapentti in five sets 

ATTEMPTS TO REACH GRAND SLAM SF (Open Era) – Wawrinka advanced to the SF on his 35th Grand Slam appearance and tied Nicolas Kiefer for the third-most attempts to reach the SF at a major: 

YEAR-BY-YEAR VS. TOP 10 OPPONENTS – Wawrinka is 7-7 vs. Top 10 opponents this year and his seven wins are a career-high and the third-most on the ATP World Tour in 2013 behind Nadal (15) and Djokovic (10).

(2) Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs (8) Richard Gasquet (FRA)      Nadal leads 10-0

• World No. 2 Nadal enters the SF with a career-best 20-match hard court winning streak and has a career 17-3 record in Grand Slam SF matches. His last SF loss came in here in 2009 (l. to del Potro) 
• The Spaniard is bidding to reach his 18th Grand Slam final. He is currently tied for 4th place with Rod Laver on the all-time list of most appearances in Grand Slam finals  
• Gasquet is the second Frenchman to reach the SF here in the Open Era. Cedric Pioline reached the SF in 1999 (l. to Martin) and was finalist in 1993 (l. to Sampras). The last French US champion was Henri Cochet in 1928
• The Frenchman is looking to become the seventh Frenchman to reach a Grand Slam final in the Open Era, with Yannick Noah the only player to go on to win the title at Roland Garros in 1983

SERVING DOMINANCE  -- This is the first time in Nadal’s career he has entered a Grand Slam semi-final without losing serve, holding all 67 service games. Here are the Grand Slam semi-finals he’s reached with the fewest times broken:
                              Broken (Games)    Tourn. Result
- 2013 US Open           0 (67 of 67)                in SF
- 2012 Roland Garros   1 (60 of 61)              Winner
- 2010 US Open           1 (76 of 77)        Winner
- 2008 Wimbledon        3 (76 of 79)             Winner
- 2006 Wimbledon        2 (88 of 89)           Runner-up


US Open History:

• The 2010 champion (d. Djokovic) is playing in his fifth SF in 10th appearance and has a career tournament record of 39-8 (4-1 in SF matches). Has yet to lose serve in tournament (holding all 67 games, saving six break points. 
o 1R (Mon.) – d. Ryan Harrison (USA) 64 62 62 in 2h06m
o 2R (Thurs.) – d.  (Q) Rogerio Dutra Silva (BRA) 62 61 60 in 1h32m 
o 3R (Sat.) – d. Ivan Dodig (CRO)  64 63 63 in 2h08m
o 4R (Mon.) – d. No 22 Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) 67 64 63 61 in 3h12m 
o QF (Wed.) – d. No. 19 Tommy Robredo 60 62 62 (ESP) in 1h40m
• He also reached the final in his last appearance in 2011 (l. to Djokovic) and SF in 2008 (l. to Murray) and 
‘09 (l. to eventual champion del Potro). Lost in QF in 2006 (l. to Youzhny)
• His earliest exit in Flushing Meadows was the 2R in first two visits in 2003 (l. to El Aynaoui) and ‘04 (l. to Roddick)

CAREER SF GRAND SLAM MATCHES -- Nadal has a 17-3 career record in Grand Slam SF matches with losses at:
2009 US Open l. to Juan Martin del Potro
2008 US Open l. to Andy Murray
2008 Australian Open l. to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

NADAL VS. FRENCHMEN – Nadal has a 17-1 career record vs. Frenchmen in Grand Slam play (5-0 at US Open) with his only loss to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the semi-finals at the Australian Open in 2008. 


US Open History:
• Has a 19-7 career record here and appearing in the SF for the first time after 4R results four times, including two of last three years. He is first Frenchman in SF since Cedric Pioline in 1999. Here is his road to SF: o 1R (Mon.) – d. Michael Russell (USA) 63 64 62 in 2h04m o 2R (Thurs.) – d. (Q) Stephane Robert (FRA) 63 75 75 in 2h12m o 3R (Sat.) – d. No. 32 Dmitry Tursunov (RUS) 63 26 64 4-2 ret. (groin) in 2h28m o 4R (Mon.) – d. No. 10 Milos Raonic (CAN) 67 76 26 76 75 in 4h40m (longest match of 2013 US Open) o QF (Wed.) – d. No. 4 David Ferrer (ESP) 63 61 46 26 63 in 3h23m (first time winning back-to-back 5 sets) • In first two years in 2005-06, reached 4R, losing to Robby Ginepri and Lleyton Hewitt, both in five sets • Also 4R in 2010 (l. to countryman Monfils) and last year, lost to No. 5 David Ferrer, both in straight sets • Is the second Frenchman to reach the SF here in the Open Era. Cedric Pioline reached the SF in 1999 (l. to Martin) and was finalist in 1993 (l. to Sampras). Pioline is the last Frenchman to reach the final here FORMER JUNIOR CHAMPIONS – Gasquet, who won the US Open junior title in 2002, was one of six former junior champions in the main draw this year. He is trying to join Stefan Edberg, Andy Roddick and Andy Murray as the only players to win both the boys’ and men’s singles titles during their career:

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