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US Open 2012 daily report: Djokovic rolls back the clock

Novak Djokovic on the path to victory
by Alexandra Willis
Friday 7 September 2012

The major stories from day 11 of the 2012 US Open at Flushing Meadows, New York...

Djokovic's title for the taking?
There were those, yours truly included, who thought that Juan Martin Del Potro would present more than a few problems for Novak Djokovic in their quarter-final match up, and not just because of his tennis. The pair last met in the Olympic bronze medal play-off, the Argentine's victory sending Djokovic so spare that he reportedly assaulted his rackets with a hacksaw. But Djokovic was far from irate during the cool three sets he produced under the Thursday night lights to beat Del Potro, the 2009 US Open champion, in an intense 6-2, 7-6(2), 6-4 win to reach his sixth US Open semi-final. 

The defending US Open champion, who pulled off 43 winners, took advantage of Del Potro's rather slow start to reel through the first set with two breaks, before the Argentine weathered a 17-minute, eight-deuce service game to force a tie-break in the second set in some of the best tennis of the tournament. The third was decided by just the one break of serve, Djokovic ever so slightly more resolved. 

"Even though it was a straight-set match, it was much closer than the score indicated," Djokovic said. "I was lucky in the second set to get out with a two-set advantage. We played some incredible rallies and incredible points."

Del Potro meanwhile admitted that Djokovic was 'just too good.'  "I had chances in the second set, but he played better, he kept fighting," the Argentine said. "It's difficult when you have a warrior in front of you. It's not easy when you have your best weapon and the guy is returning all your serves. He played a very high level the entire three hours."

Ferrer grinds out five-set win
When asked who to back in a five-set match, the betting man would generally pump for David Ferrer, the legendarily hard-working Spaniard who has proverbial duracell batteries in his shoes, and quite simply never gives up.

“He's not going to blow you off the court out there, but he's going to make you work for every single point…He's a great competitor, and you're going to be out there for a long time to beat him,” said Lleyton Hewitt after losing to the Spanish No.2 in the third round. 

But Janko Tipsarevic certainly made a go of it, producing 60 winners before Ferrer finally triumphed 6-3, 6-7(5), 2-6, 6-3, 7-6(4) in an epic four hours and 31 minutes to reach the Us Open's last four for the first time in five years. 

"I enjoyed a lot playing this match with Janko ‑ of course because I won. But it was a very emotional match, one of the best emotional matches of my career," Ferrer said, while Tipsarevic decreed it to be "the best match of the tournament."

Standing in the way of Ferrer's first Grand Slam singles final? Novak Djokovic. The Spaniard will have to run and run if he's going to win that one. 

Will the Bryans break the record?
With a record 80 doubles titles to their name, an Olympic gold medal, an adorable daughter or niece, there is not much the Bryan brothers haven't done. Except surpass Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde's record of 11 Grand Slam doubles titles. Tied with the famous Australians on 11, the Bryans will have a chance to make it a record 12 after coming through with relative ease against Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi and Jean-Julien Roger to reach the final. But to do so, they will have to beat Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek, through to the final after a retirement, who beat the Bryans to win the Australian Open title earlier this year. 

“We’re not so much thinking about the record; we just want to win the US Open,” Bob Bryan said. “We have knocked on the door a little bit this year. Winning the Olympics was the highlight of the year, maybe our career. It was what we were focusing on and tailoring our scheduled to peak there. Winning this one would be awesome because we would get to No. 12 and it would put us in great position to finish the year ranked No. 1, which is always our top goal starting the season.”

Wimbledon runners-up to play Roland Garros champions
Two of the WTA's top doubles teams will square off in the women's doubles final on Friday as Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci, the Roland Garros champions and soon to be world No.1s, try to win their second Slam of the year when they face the welly-wearing Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka, runners-up at Wimbledon and the Olympics. 

Makarova and Soares claim mixed
There may be three days of the US Open left to run, but the first US Open champions of 2012 were crowned on Thursday as Ekaterina Makarova and Bruno Soares beat fourth seeds Kveta Peschke and Marcin Matkowski 6-7 (8), 6-1, 12-10. to win the mixed doubles title. 

"We just tried to stay positive, play solid and play our game," said Makarova. "I'm so happy."

"Disappointment is huge," said Peschke, who had been hoping to make it third time lucky after losing the US Open mixed doubles final with Martin Damm in 2006 and again with Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi in 2010.

Big debate
There is much expected of 16-year-old Taylor Townsend, the junior Australian Open champion and junior world No.1, who is the top girls' seed at Flushing Meadows. But it has emerged that her USTA coaches have withdrawn her funding, denied her a wild card into the main draw, asked her to skip the USTA girls' national championships and the US Open juniors, decreeing that she should not play tournaments until she has improved her physical fitness. 

Coming up on Friday

Arthur Ashe

12pm Men's Doubles final
Leander Paes (IND) [5] / Radek Stepanek (CZE) [5] v Bob Bryan (USA) [2] / Mike Bryan (USA) [2]

Not before 1.45pm Women's Singles semi-finals 
Victoria Azarenka (BLR) [1] v Maria Sharapova (RUS) [3]

Serena Williams (USA) [4] v Sara Errani (ITA) [10]

Court 17
Junior girls singles quarter-finals: featuring top seed Taylor Townsend
Junior boys singles quarter-finals: featuring top seed Kimmer Coppejans

Junior girls doubles semi-finals
Junior boys doubles semi-finals

Court 13
Junior girls singles quarter-finals
Junior boys singles quarter-finals: featuring Britain's Liam Broady

Court 11
Junior girls singles quarter-finals
Junior boys singles quarter-finals

Junior girls doubles semi-finals
Junior boys doubles semi-finals - featuring Britain's Kyle Edmund

Court 7
Junior girls singles quarter-finals
Junior boys singles quarter-finals 

For full scores, draws and results, and videos from Flushing Meadows, check out the US Open official website.

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