Weather helps Djokovic warm to final task

A rain dance from Novak Djokovic had the desired effect as his US Open final with Rafael Nadal was delayed until today.

A rain dance from Novak Djokovic had the desired effect as his US Open final with Rafael Nadal was delayed until today.

Persistent rain in New York yesterday meant the two players never even made it onto the court and forced play into an extra day for a third year in succession at Flushing Meadows.

Djokovic recovered from two sets to one down and saved two match points to beat Roger Federer in five sets in Saturday’s semi-finals.

Nadal had the benefit of playing in the first semi-final and taking just two hours and 13 minutes to beat Mikhail Youzhny in straight sets before sitting back and watching Djokovic and Federer slug it out for three hours and 44 minutes.

Told rain was forecast for yesteday, Djokovic had laughed and said: “Really? I don’t know the rituals to invite the rain but an extra day would be great actually.

“I am tired, there’s no secret about that. For four sets I was quite okay but the fifth set was very intensive mentally and physically and took a lot out of me.

“But in the end it’s a remarkable win and I’m sure I will find the strength to give my best on the court.”

In the end Djokovic did not have to worry, the persistent rain seeing tournament officials abandon play for the day shortly after 6:15pm local time.

Nadal was not perturbed by the delay and said he would be coming away from the tournament with positives win or lose.

“I just wait one more day here in New York, it’s not terrible!” he said.

“I just need to make sure I’m ready. I am in the final for the first time and this is a new step in my career. It is the last Grand Slam remaining, so if I lose I will come back with positive things and that is important.”

The women’s doubles final was deep in the third set when play was suspended in early afternoon and was initially switched from Arthur Ashe Stadium to another court in the hope that the weather would improve.

That match – with the sixth seeds Vania King and Yaroslava Shvedova serving at 0-15 and 4-5 down in the third set against second seeds Liezel Huber and Nadia Petrova – is scheduled to resume at 3pm local time on Monday.

The men’s final is then scheduled to follow, with a start time not before 4pm.

Andy Roddick in 2003 is the last man to have played a five-set semi-final and gone on to win the title, while the last US Open champion to have played the second semi-final on ’Super Saturday’ was Federer in 2007.

Nadal is looking to become only the seventh man in history to complete the career Grand Slam and the first since Rod Laver in 1969 to win the French Open, Wimbledon and US Open in succession.

The world number one could also become the first man since 1960 to win the US Open without dropping a set if he can beat Djokovic in straight sets.

However, although Djokovic trails Nadal 14-7 overall in their career head-to-head, the Serbian has won their last three meetings and has a 7-3 win-loss record on hard courts against the left-hander.

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