NEW YORK — Five sets of tennis. Who could ask for anything more?
Except that was over two matches. Two noncompetitive matches.
On men’s semifinal day at the US Open on Friday, Novak Djokovic, the No. 6 seed, made his second consecutive major final with a convincing straight-sets performance against Kei Nishikori. Djokovic needed less than 2½ hours. (For that it’s worth, he also sweat considerably less in the semis than he did in previous rounds.)
The 13-time Grand Slam champion will take on Juan Martin del Potro, with the Serb seeking his first US Open title since 2015. Djokovic has dropped only two sets en route to the final.
– US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 8, 2018
Djokovic tied Ivan Lendl and Pete Sampras for the most US Open finals appearances in the Open era. Djokovic also has won nine straight major semifinals and will play his 23rd final on Sunday — the third most in men’s tennis history behind Roger Federer (30) and Rafael Nadal (24).
While we’re on a stat kick, Djokovic will look to win Wimbledon and the US Open in the same season for the third time.
“I always believed I could come back relatively quickly to the level of tennis I was playing,” Djokovic said. “But I certainly felt the six months off gave me time to recharge my battery and think about how I want to continue playing the game of tennis.”
A great day for Djokovic — but not so much for Nadal. The defending champion retired down two sets against del Potro with an ailing knee.
“I had some issues during the tournament,” Nadal said. “[Today] at 2-all in first set, I told my box I felt something in my knee. As difficult as it is to say goodbye before [the] match finished, you have to take a position. It was so difficult for me to keep playing, I was in too much pain. It was not a tennis match at the end.”
Earlier in the day, Djokovic spent quality time with his son.
– Novak Djokovic (@DjokerNole) September 7, 2018
The champion also got a hat tip from his quarterfinal opponent, John Millman.
Too good mate. Go and get 14!
– John Millman (@johnhmillman) September 6, 2018
Even though it was a disappointing end for Nishikori, he’s come a long way since last December, when he wasn’t sure if he’d play the season.
Kei Nishikori would probably be very happy if someone told him in december, when he was rehabing and doubful, that he would finish the 2018 Grand Slam season 12-3, losing all three times to champions/finalists (Thiem, Djokovic x2).
+ one Masters 1000 final lost to the clay GOAT. pic.twitter.com/H135qOD8VT
– José Morgado (@josemorgado) September 8, 2018
Who needs Bob anyway? Mike Bryan, along with partner Jack Sock, won his record 18th doubles Grand Slam title. (The record was previously held by Australian legend John Newcombe with 17.) Bryan and Sock beat Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo in straight sets. This is Bryan and Sock’s second straight major title.
Leave your messages for the back-to-back major winners ��
– ATP World Tour (@ATPWorldTour) September 7, 2018
The 2012 US Open champion, Andy Murray, might be struggling with his comeback, but he still has his A-game on when it comes to comedy:
– judy murray (@JudyMurray) September 7, 2018
Defending champion Sloane Stephens could not repeat her dream performance from last year, but she gave it her all.
– Sloane Stephens (@SloaneStephens) September 7, 2018
A legend forever: The 2003 US Open champion, American Andy Roddick, was given his Hall of Fame ring Friday. Roddick was inducted in 2017.
We’ve got something special with your name on it @andyroddick!
– Tennis Hall of Fame (@TennisHalloFame) September 7, 2018
Alec Baldwin of “Saturday Night Live” and “30 Rock” was seen cheering during the men’s semifinals, along with other celebrities such as actor Chevy Chase (with his original “Caddyshack” hat) and four-time Grand Slam winner Manolo Santana.
The occasion has drawn some big names to the Arthur Ashe Stadium, with a number of stars in attendance at the men’s singles semi-finals.#USOpen
– Firstpost Sports (@FirstpostSports) September 7, 2018