There are a lot of things happening in sports right now, but the biggest thing on September 13, 2015, is the US Open final between Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, the final we deserved to get.
Federer couldn’t ask for better form to be in right now. He still hasn’t lost a set at Flushing Meadows in this tournament, beating four ranked opponents along the way in straight sets, including compatriot Stanislas Wawrinka in the semifinal, the man Djokovic hates meeting in Grand Slam finals more than anything. Was he breathing a sigh of relief when he learned Federer will be his rival?
Hard to say. Djokovic has been the dominant force in Tennis for the last five years, but after his legendary 2011 that included three grand slam championships, it’s only been this year he’s been able to win two slams in one season, winning in Australia and Wimbledon, beating Federer on the London grass in the final.
Djokovic has done well against Federer recently, especially in slams. Federer hasn’t beaten Djokovic in a Grand Slam match since 2012 at Wimbledon, which was also the last time Federer won a Grand Slam title. In his attempts to win number 18, he has lost to Djokovic twice in slams, both at the Wimbledon final. Djokovic has also won three of their last four matches, but Federer did beat him in the Cincinnati Masters final, hinting in what kind of form he is.
For Federer, this is the first US Open final since 2009. He shared the record for most championships in the Open Era with five, winning them consecutively from 2004 to 2008. In 2009 he was a huge favorite against Juan Martin Del Potro but couldn’t complete a three-slam year in a frustrating final for him, in which he lost his cool and nerve more than once. He hasn’t been able to return ever since, twice losing in the semifinal to Djokovic (2010, 2011) in two epic matches.
Federer, despite his better form, isn’t the favorite. Djokovic has been staggering in some of his wins in this tournament, but the five-set factor is the most important thing in this match. Federer can play better tennis than Djokovic for a while, but can he do it in a best-of-five match? He hasn’t done it in quite a while, and Djokovic tends to blossom physically late in matches against Federer.
Federer can play beautiful, exquisite tennis that makes the crowd go ‘ooo’ and ‘aaa’. But that doesn’t win tennis games when you’re 34 against the best player in the world. Djokovic might be going through to motions in matches right now, but if he finds the pressure point he usually does against an opponent and rides it to the end, this is going to be another Grand Slam title for Djokovic, only his second (surprising, isn’t it?) at the US Open.