Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have played for many notable titles over the last 17 years, battling it out in the finals of three Majors. Still, two great rivals never met at the US Open, coming within a win of the encounter at Arthur Ashe Stadium but never taking that last step.
One such situation came in 2010 when the Spaniard advanced to his first US Open final, waiting for either Roger Federer or Novak Djokovic. Competing against each other for the fourth year in a row in New York, Novak fended off two match points against Roger in an impressive 5-7, 6-1, 5-7, 6-2, 7-5 victory in three hours and 44 minutes. !
Djokovic erased two match points at 4-5 in the decider. He fired two gutsy forehand winners and rattled off three games in a row to cross the finish line and spoil the final between two dominant men’s tennis figures of the last decade.
Federer came back from 4-2 down in the opener to take two breaks and steal it 7-5. Djokovic was the only player on court in the second set, and the five-time winner responded with a late break in the third to build the lead.
The Serb dominated set number four to force a decider, where he had momentum. Still, Novak played a weak service game at 4-5 to face two match points. He kept his cool and landed two gutsy forehands to remove the danger and get a big boost.
Novak broke Roger at 30 in the 11th game and fended off a break chance in the next before sealing the deal and proceeding to his third Major final. Federer praised Djokovic after the match and said that he would have loved to meet Rafa at the US Open for the first time.
Roger Federer wasted two match points against Novak Djokovic at the 2010 US Open.
«I had a couple of matches this year when I was close to the finish line. You feel like you left something out if you lose after having match points.
He wasn’t tired; it was not a long match and there were no prolonged rallies. I felt good physically and the wind was not a problem like in the previous rounds. I would have loved to play Rafa here; I was a finalist for the last six years and sadly he was never there.
We were one point away from facing each other in the final, but it wasn’t like that. I tried to play aggressively and not give Novak too much pace, and it all came back to me. Sure, I missed too many forehands at the end, but winners alone couldn’t decide the winner.
You can also see mistakes, and Novak pushed me to make them; credit to him. I feel like I’m playing well, and I would have deserved to be in the final tomorrow. Novak played well against me in our previous three meetings here in New York.
He knows how to play under pressure and has shown it many times. I felt that the racket was under my control. I just let those two sets get away too quickly instead of maybe making him work harder. But then again, I had a match point and was a couple of points away from victory, like in the final last year,» said Roger Federer.