Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have battled for almost every notable trophy that our sport has to offer. Still, two great rivals have never met at the US Open, standing a win away from the Arthur Ashe Stadium encounter but never making that one last step.
One of those situations came in 2010 when the Spaniard advanced to his first US Open final, awaiting Roger Federer or Novak Djokovic in the title clash. Competing against each other for the fourth straight time in New York, Novak fended off two match points against Roger in a thrilling 5-7, 6-1, 5-7, 6-2, 7-5 victory after three hours and 44 minutes!
Djokovic erased those two match points at 4-5 in the decider, firing two brave forehand winners and rattling off three straight games to cross the finish line and spoil the final between two dominant figures in men's tennis from the last half a decade.
Djokovic beat Federer for the sixth time in 16 encounters, losing serve three times and delivering six breaks from 12 chances. The Serb had the upper hand in the shortest range up to four strokes, and the Swiss responded in the mid-range exchanges to remain in touch.
Novak claimed 15 points more thanks to sets two and four, which would have been in vain had he failed to stay focused in that tenth game.
Novak Djokovic defeated Roger Federer in the 2010 US Open semi-final in a thriller.
Federer came back from 4-2 down in the opener to grab two breaks and steal it 7-5.
Djokovic was the only player on the court in the second set, and the five-time winner responded with a late break in the third to build another advantage. The Serb dominated set number four before playing a loose service game at 4-5 in the decider.
Roger earned two match points after Novak's backhand mistake, and he did not have a chance at any, as Djokovic fired two brave forehand winners to take the danger away and gain a massive boost. Novak broke Roger at 30 in the 11th game following Federer's forehand mistake and fended off a break point in the next one before sealing the deal and moving into the third Major final.
"I did not think about facing Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in back-to-back matches, as I always want to beat every opponent. I did a good job today, staying calm and finding a way to emerge at the top. I did have some emotional flaws here and there, but I was generally very stable and focused.
Even though I was set down and two sets to one down, I kept coming back and playing some good tennis. I'm sorry for all the ones who wanted to see Roger and Rafa in the final. But, I really did not think about that too much. I'm sure we gonna have a grand final tomorrow, as well," Novak Djokovic said.