Familiar final as Djokovic, Nadal meet

Sept. 11, 2011 at 9:56 AM
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NEW YORK, Sept. 11 (UPI) -- For the sixth time this year Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal will play in a tournament final, this time with the U.S. Open championship at stake.

Djokovic held off two match points and ran his 2011 record to 63-2 with a 6-7 (7-9), 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 7-5 victory over Roger Federer before Nadal took out Andy Murray 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 in Saturday's semifinals.

Djokovic and Nadal, who also played in the finals of last year's U.S. Open, will decide the final men's Grand Slam event of 2011 at 4 p.m. EDT Monday.

The game's top two men's players are certainly familiar with each other. They've played 28 times, first at the French Open in 2006. Nadal won that match and is 16-12 in his series against Djokovic.

But Djokovic is having one of the best years in tennis history, posting a season in which he's beaten Nadal five times in 2011, winning championship matches at Indian Wells, Calif.; Miami; Madrid; Rome; and Wimbledon. He also won the Australian Open and Nadal took the French Open.

Nadal beat Djokovic twice in 2010: in round-robin play of the World Tour Finals and in four sets at the U.S. Open.

"This year I go into the match having lost the past five matches against him, five finals, so this will be the sixth," Nadal said Saturday. "It's an advantage for him. He's obviously the favorite for the final.

"I know I have to do something better than the other matches to try to change the situation and that's what I'm going to try."

A win by Nadal would give him his 11th Grand Slam title, tying him with Rod Laver and Bjorn Borg for fourth most all time. Djokovic had three major tournament titles, with the 2008 Australian Open to go with his Australian Open and Wimbledon championships this year.

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