After losing in the semi-final against Kei Nishikori and Marin Cilic in 2014, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer have gone one step further 12 months later, setting up their second US Open final meeting, the first in eight years.
It was the battle of the best players in the world and the dominant figures in New York in the last 10 years, with Djokovic prevailing 6-4 5-7 6-4 6-4 in three hours and 21 minutes to lift his 10th Grand Slam crown and only the second in New York despite playing six finals there.
This was the 42nd meeting between Novak and Roger and they were tied at 21 wins each, forging one of the greatest rivalries in the history of tennis. 2015 was the greatest season in Novak Djokovic's career, winning 82 out of 88 matches and lifting 11 trophies, 10 of those at the biggest events, out of 14 in total! He was the player to beat at six Masters 1000 events, World Tour Finals and three Majors, including the US Open where he had to work hard against Roger Federer, in what was the last US Open final for the Swiss.
In addition, Novak had become only the second player after Roger with multiple seasons with at least three Grand Slam titles, moving ahead of Rod Laver, Jimmy Connors, Mats Wilander and Rafael Nadal who did that once. Novak won just two points more than Roger and he had to dig deep in his service games to emerge as a winner before the deciding set, saving 19 out of 23 break points and stealing Federer's serve six times from 13 opportunities.
Roger was super aggressive, just in Cincinnati a few weeks earlier where he beat Djokovic in the final, and he had much more winners than Novak, including those from forehand and backhand wings and also at the net, but he made too many unforced errors which plagued his chances together with an enormous number of break points he wasted in no less than 11 different games! Federer had the advantage in the shortest and mid-range points while Djokovic erased that deficit with the better performance in the longer rallies, saving many of those break points after drawing Roger into more extended exchanges where he had the upper hand.
Federer sailed through the opening six matches but Novak was a different kind of rival, having to save three break points in the very first game to bring the opening game home with a service winner. Djokovic held at love in game two and he moved in front on the third break point in game three when Federer sent a backhand long for the first break of the match.
Roger broke back in the very next game and he held at love in game five to get back in front. Novak broke again in game seven with a backhand down the line winner, saving a break point in the following game to bring it home with a forehand winner for a 5-3.
Roger saved a set point in the ninth game to extend the set but Djokovic held at love at 5-4 to seal the opener in 41 minutes. The Serb saved five break points in the second game of the second set and he had to dig deep at 4-5 as well, fending off two set points in the game with seven deuces to level the score at 5-5.
Roger finally scored a break in the 12th game to clinch the set 7-5 and level the overall score at 1-1 after an hour and 43 minutes. Novak bounced back at the start of the third set, earning a break in game three after a poor forehand from Roger but staying in front only for a few minutes as Federer broke back in the following game when Novak netted a backhand.
In one of the crucial games, Djokovic repelled two break points at 3-4 and he was awarded in the next game, breaking Roger for a 5-4 lead after a loose backhand from the Swiss. Serving for the set, Djokovic saved an additional two break points, forcing an error from Roger to close the set 6-4 and move a set away from the title (Federer was three from 17 on break points at that moment).
Carried by this momentum, Djokovic broke at the start of the fourth set, saving a break point in game six to move 4-2 up and breaking Roger's serve again with a return winner in game seven for a 5-2. The Serb was serving for the match but Federer was not to be denied, pulling one break back with a volley winner and holding with a forehand winner in game nine to reduce the deficit to 4-5.
Facing two break points in the 10th game, Novak fired two service winners and he forced an error from Roger on the third break point, sealing the deal with another unreturned serve to bring the game home and celebrate his 10th Grand Slam crown in a memorable season that pushed him even closer to the place among the best players of all time.