New York - Spain's David Ferrer rallied in the fifth set to outlast Serbian Janko Tipsarevic and advance to the US Open semi-finals on Thursday after a marathon battle that lasted four hours and 31 minutes.
Fourth seed Ferrer matched his best Grand Slam showing by reaching the final four on the Flushing Meadows hardcourts with a 6-3, 6-7 (5/7), 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/4) victory over the eighth seed.
"It was an emotional match, one of the most emotional of my career," Ferrer said. "I'm really happy. It was a really tough match. Janko, he's an amazing player and he really fought a lot. He deserved to win today too."
Ferrer will play on Saturday for a berth in the final against defending champion Novak Djokovic, the Serbian second seed who ousted Argentine seventh seed Juan Martin Del Potro, the 2009 US Open winner, by 6-2, 7-6 (7/3), 6-4.
British third seed Andy Murray and Czech sixth seed Tomas Berdych will meet in the other semi-final.
This will be the first time since the 2004 French Open that the semi-finals at a Grand Slam will not feature either Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal, a run of 33 Slams in a row.
Ferrer, 5-8 all-time against Djokovic including a 2007 US Open semi-final loss, does not feel like it's now or never for his Grand Slam title hopes.
"No, I don't think so. I don't think I have my last chance or anything like that," he said. "I am in the semi-final."
Down 4-1 in the final set, Ferrer broke back to force a tie-breaker, then won five of the final six points of the match, the last when Tipsarevic netted a backhand.
"I'm honestly sad because I didn't make it to the last four at a Grand Slam," Tipsarevic said.
Ferrer, whose five tour titles this year are second only to Federer's six, made his other Grand Slam runs to the last four at the 2007 US Open, 2011 Australian Open and 2012 French Open.
"It was a lottery in the fifth set," Ferrer said. "I had a break down but I was fighting also and I won. I had to fight a lot and be focused every point."
Ferrer, 30, improved to 17-9 in career five-set matches while Tipsarevic, 28, fell to 15-8.
In the fifth set, Tipsarevic broke Ferrer's first service with a backhand volley winner for a 2-0 lead on the way to a 4-1 edge.
But the Serb slipped and fell on his left side going for a Ferrer backhand in the sixth game, which Ferrer held to pull within 4-2.
Ferrer, held, broke back in the seventh game, held again to pull even at 4-4 and earned two break points in the ninth game before Tipsarevic called for a trainer, having his right upper leg taped after reaching toward his right groin during a rally.
The Serb responded with a forehand volley winner and three service winners to hold and each man held into the final tie-breaker.
"I don't want to blame the fall for why I lost the match," Tipsarevic said. "I don't think it did, even though it's really painful right now.
"He played a really good game (to break). He was able to pass me every time I came to the net."
Results on Thursday from the 11th day of the US Open (x denotes seeding):
David Ferrer (ESP x4) bt Janko Tipsarevic (SRB x8) 6-3, 6-7 (5/7), 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/4)
Novak Djokovic (SRB x2) bt Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG x7) 6-2, 7-6 (7/3), 6-4
Leander Paes/Radek Stepanek (IND/CZE x5) bt Marcel Granollers/Marc Lopez (ESP x6) 6-6 retired
Bob Bryan/Mike Bryan (USA x2) bt Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi/Jean-Julien Rojer (PAK/NED x9) 6-3, 6-4
Sara Errani/Roberta Vinci (ITA x2) bt Nuria Llagostera Vives/Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez (ESP x8) 6-3, 6-2
Andrea Hlavackova/Lucie Hradecka (CZE x3) bt Hsieh Su-Wei/Anabel Medina Garrigues (TPE/ESP x16) 7-6 (7/2), 6-4
Ekaterina Makarova/Bruno Soares (RUS/BRA) bt Kveta Peschke/Marcin Matkowski (CZE/POL x4) 6-7 (8/10), 6-1, 12-10