The fairytale is over.
“What. A. Finish,” the US Open tweeted after the Serbian won, adding that he cruised to the final in Flushing Meadows after defeating Nishikori 6-3, 6-4, 6-2.
“I thought in the important moments I came up with some good second serves, some good first serves. I was returning well,” Djokovic said after the game. “I was putting (constant) pressure on him, trying to move him around the court, take away the rhythm from him.”
Nishikori – the first Japanese man to reach a US Open semifinal in the Open era – was a finalist in New York in 2014.
Djokovic will play Argentine Juan Martin del Potro on Sunday, the first time the pair will square off in a Grand Slam final. But a win by either del Potro or Djokovic means the US Open will crown a repeat men’s champion – del Potro won the finals in 2009, while Djokovic was the champion in 2011 and 2015.
Del Potro advanced after defending champion and world No. 1 Rafael Nadal was forced to quit the US Open semifinal because of a knee injury.
“You could imagine it was very difficult for me to say goodbye before the match finishes,” Nadal said. “But at some point, you have to make a decision. It was so difficult for me to keep playing at the same time that way, having too much pain.”
On Saturday, 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams will meet Naomi Osaka, who was age 1 when Williams won her first Grand Slam in the 1999 women’s final.
Should Williams beat Osaka – the first Japanese woman to advance to a Grand Slam final – she will equal Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles.
“It’s honestly really incredible,” said Williams, who is ranked No. 26 in the world after a heavily interrupted year following the difficult birth of her daughter, Alexis Olympia.
“A year ago I was fighting for literally my life at the hospital after I had the baby. Every day I step on this court I’m so grateful that I have an opportunity to play this sport. No matter what happens in any match, semis, finals, I just feel like I’ve already won.”