The tennis community and the fans at the US Open did not have much time to come back to earth after the lofty results in the women’s semis that saw Serena Williams crash out in one of the most sensational upsets in the sport’s history and before that the second seed, Simona Halep, is sent packing leaving two Italian women to play for the US Open title.
Roberta Vinci and Flavia Pennetta are not only playing the first ever all-Italian final at a major but their combined age of 66 makes it the oldest women’s final at the majors in the Open-era.
When the men’s semis happened normal programming returned and the best rivalry currently in men’s tennis picked up where it left off twice in the last three months, the Wimbledon and Cincinnati finals as Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer moved through to face one another for the 42nd time. Federer won the last time to take the advantage 21-20 but Djokovic won the Wimbledon final.
Even they were taken aback with the results. Federer said: “Definitely a huge surprise (Serena), wasn’t it? Roberta is more famous for doubles almost, but of course I like that she has a one-handed backhand and uses the slice to great effect. I always thought Pennetta plays a nice game. I’m not surprised for some reason she’s in the final.” Djokovic made the point that this is sport and such results happen because “everybody wants to win”.
“It’s quite an effort from Roberta Vinci to in against Serena on her quest to win a season Grand Slam. You have to give her credit for that, congratulate her. Certainly isn’t easy for Serena to deal with this loss, but she’s a great champion.”
For Djokovic and Federer the path to the final was straightforward. Djokovic took apart an injured (twisted ankle) defending champion Marin Cilic 6-0, 6-1, 6-2 in 85 minutes which was the most one sided Grand Slam semi-final since Ivan Lendl defeated Johan Kriek at the French Open in 1986. Federer, meanwhile, turned the tables on Stan Wawrinka after losing to him at the French Open, 6-4, 6-3, 6-1.
This is the sixth time Djokovic has reached the US Open final for one title while Federer is into the final for the seventh time but the first time since 2009 and he has won five titles, the last being in 2008.
“Expectations are always there from myself and from the people around me,” Djokovic said. “You have those expectations because you set up high standards for yourself. I came here with a wish and a mission, to reach the finals and fight for the trophy. I got myself in that position and it’s already a great result, but I wat to get that final step and get my hands on that trophy.
“Obviously I’m not the only one who wants that. Another Swiss player (It was Wawrinka at the French) will be on the opposite side of the net. We definitely have the same kind of mission. I hope I will be able to play my best tennis and try to deal with the emotions on and off the court.”
The crowd is likely to play a part in this match. Like everywhere else they love Federer and Djokovic has to battle that while Federer says he will be for whichever way the crowd might decide to sway.
“I hope the crowd is going to be happy to see me in the finals again after six years; sounds like a big deal, but it’s not that long ago, in my opinion,” he said. “I definitely think if they would be more on my side that will give me a life and extra energy and momentum possibly. That could swing the match little bit. Oher than that, Novak is a great player and you’ve got to play well to beat him … there is no question about that.”
By reaching the final, Federer is now the oldest finalist at the US Open since Andre Agassi in 2005 and if he wins he will be the first man in the Open-era to win six US Opens. Djokovic meanwhile joins only Federer and Rod Laver in the Open-era to have reached all four finals at the majors in a single season.