Novak Djokovic d. Gael Monfils 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-2
After a bewildering US Open semi-final that left observers both perplexed and transfixed, the opening words spoken by the players as they settled into the press conference chair said it all.
From there, it became a battle of attrition with Wawrinka beginning to bully Nishikori, wearing down his resolve with some bruising groundstrokes. It was a match of the highest quality but the conditions began to take their toll on Nishikori, and when Wawrinka rifled a backhand to take the third set he pointed to his head and let out an almighty roar.
“I was struggling,” admitted Wawrinka. “I was suffering on the court first set, second set, and all the match. But I just knew that it was important not to show it, to stay there, because I also know that in a five-set match there is some up and down. It's important to not spend energy by being negative and show the opponent that you're struggling.”
With a seemingly indefatigable Wawrinka across the net, Nishikori attempted to shorten the points but could only muster one winner in a 39-minute fourth set as the Swiss booked his place in a third Grand Slam final.
“I’m really excited,” said Wawrinka. “Really happy to make the final. Something amazing for me.”
VERDICT: This was an excellent win for Wawrinka. Nishikori, really, could and should have been two sets to the good but when Wawrinka stole in to clinch the second there was only going to be one winner. It hasn’t been the best of summers for the Swiss, but once he negotiated the first week of the US Open he was always going to pose a threat. Wawrinka is on a 10-match winning streak in finals and when reminded of the remarkable stat in press he patted himself on the back. Quite literally. “I won 10 in a row the last two years, and before that I lost many,” he said. “So I think it's part of my career, I start to believe better in myself and take more confidence.”