US Open: Djokovic And Wawrinka To Play In Final

Miscue after miscue arrived from Djokovic, and Monfils won three games in a row, before eventually dropping a set for the first time all tournament.

Djokovic regained the upper hand and reached his 21st Grand Slam final and seventh at the U.S. Open with an eventful -and at times freaky - 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 victory Friday.

"I'm very sad to hear that", Monfils told reporters after hearing of McEnroe's criticism of him. "It was a great theater experience today".

The asset to the sport, though is Djokovic, the champion who somehow was reduced to an afterthought even while winning a U.S. Open semifinal.

Third-seeded Stan Wawrinka carved out a 4-6, 7-5, 6-4, 6-2 victory over Japan's Kei Nishikori on Friday to set up a US Open title clash with world number one Novak Djokovic.

Monfils was similarly slap-dash in the second set, by the end of which the crowd was getting restless and demanding better tennis.

Gael Monfils reacts after loss against Novak Djokovic of Serbia during their Men's Singles Semifinal Match on Day Twelve of the 2016 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 9, 2016 in the Flushing, Queens.

And he was the stable one on court.

Nishikori, whose 2014 NY campaign made him the first player from an Asian country to reach a grand slam final, where he fell to Marin Cilic, lost serve three times in the final set to end the three hour, seven-minute match. More examples of playing possum?

He will seek his third major championship Sunday against the top-ranked Djokovic, who he defeated at Roland Garros in Paris in 2015.

Monfils talking about Djokovic maybe being too good for him is evidenced by Nole's 13-0 record against him all-time.

John McEnroe said: "Monfils is bordering on unprofessional".

"F***, yes, I'm competing", raged Monfils.


"He was playing very good from the beginning, dictating, not giving me any time to get my game". If I would get to the net he would go for the passing shot and hit some impossible gets and balls.

"I am always ready when I'm happy on the court so let's see what's going to happen". "I think also he was stepping up a little more from the second set". I know it is not natural because first question is you're not competing. Monfils said his tactics were a deliberate attempt "to get inside his head". Novak held on and then broke Monfils to wrap up the game, the set, and the match. The free-spirited Frenchman saved a set point with a 120 miles per hour ace, eventually getting on the board with a three-ace hold.

The errors that were originally coming from the Frenchman's racket started to creep into Djokovic's game and with the help of yet another double fault, the break back went to Monfils.

"You didn't seem to be able to give it your full effort". But he started to find his form in a quarterfinal victory over 2009 U.S. Open champ Juan Martin del Potro.

"Sorry if it wasn't academic, but in the end, you change with what you've got".

Djokovic has a career 19-4 edge over Wawrinka.

"I was completely caught offguard", Djokovic said. Week in, week out, no one plays with such astounding consistency, "Richard Osborn wrote for USOpen.org". "And then it was odd because maybe (fans) will listen to commentary and say I'm unprofessional, I'm poor whatever".

"If I have a mic I would say to the audience stop saying that, I'm unprofessional. That's when I started to get aggressive".

That jarring reception jolted Monfils into action.

Wawrinka then raced into a 4-1 lead in the third but was pegged back to 4-4 by the spirited Nishikori. Two games later, Monfils made a flying backhand volley then drew a wild forehand, breaking again for his fourth consecutive game.

Asked to describe the conditions on-court, Djokovic said: "Humid".

That was not the only weird thing that occured during the match. Sometimes it can disturb you; sometimes it can bring a smile to your face.

  • Steve Townsend