Roger Federer has won 17 major championships, including five U.S. Opens in a row from 2004 to 2008. Along the way he beat everyone from Andre Agassi to Andy Roddick and Andy Murray, not to mention Lleyton Hewitt and Novak Djokovic.
Over the past six years, however, Federer has lost in the latest rounds at the USTA Billie Jean National Tennis Center, falling to everyone from Djokovic to Tomas Berdych, even Tommy Robredo.
But what was lost has now been found and, with practically perfect precision, Federer earned his way back into the U.S. Open final with a 92-minute 6-4, 6-3, 6-1 carving of his Swiss countryman, fifth-seeded Stan Wawrinka.
With the win, the 34-year-old Federer became the oldest finalist at a major since a 35-year-old Agassi lost to Federer in the 2005 U.S. Open final.
Federer will play Djokovic for the 42nd time since their first meeting in Monte Carlo in 2006 and the sixth time this year. Djokovic was equally dominant in his 6-0, 6-1, 6-2 semifinal victory over defending champion Marin Cilic, a match that required only 85 minutes to complete. Cilic was clearly hampered by a right ankle sprain suffered during his round of 16 win over Jeremy Chardy.
Roger Federer has lost his serve only twice in his past 131 service games.
So overpowering was Djokovic that the Serb won 79 percent of the points on his second serve compared to 22 percent for Cilic. Djokovic held serve in 10 of 11 games while Cilic held just twice. Cilic had 37 unforced errors to 13 for Djokovic.
“It felt great to be able to perform as well as I did at this stage of a tournament,” said the top-seeded Djokovic, who has reached the final in each of the four majors this year. The 28-year-old Serb won the Australian Open over Murray and Wimbledon by defeating Federer. His only loss was in the French Open final to Wawrinka.
Against Wawrinka, Federer again served exceedingly well, hitting three consecutive aces in the second game of the second set. He did not lose his serve in the match and has dropped serve only twice in his past 131 service games. He was also damaging at the net, where he saved the sixth game of the first set with a blistering second serve followed by a high, lunging forehand volley winner. He closed out the match with his 10th ace of the match.
Martina Hingis and Leander Paes became the first mixed doubles team since Margaret Court and Marty Reissen in 1969 to capture three of the four majors in one season.
▪ Martina Hingis and Leander Paes won the mixed doubles title with a 6-4, 3-6, 10-7 victory over Americans Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Sam Querrey. With their wins at the Australian Open and Wimbledon earlier this year, Hingis and Paes became the first team since Margaret Court and Marty Reissen in 1969 to capture three of the four majors in one season.
▪ In 1970, nine brave women waved $1 bills to announce their signing as professional tennis players. Forty years later, six of the Original Nine — Billie Jean King, Rosie Casals, Nancy Richey, Judy Tegart Dalton, Kerry Melville Reid and Val Ziegenfuss — were celebrated at Arthur Ashe Stadium between the semifinals. Only Julie Heldman, Kristy Pigeon and Peaches Bartkowicz were not present.
U.S. Open men’s final
No. 1 Novak Djokovic vs. No. 2 Roger Federer, 3 p.m. Sunday, ESPN