New York - 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.
Defending champion Djokovic beat France's Gael Monfils 6-3,
6-2, 3-6, 6-2 to reach a seventh US Open final where he will be seeking a third
major of the season and 13th of his career.
Wawrinka withstood an early onslaught from sixth-seeded
Nishikori, asserting himself in the later stages despite the toll taken on both
players in draining humidity on Arthur Ashe stadium court.
"It was tough conditions, it was really hot and humid
so I knew it would be tough," two-time Grand Slam winner Wawrinka said.
"It's crazy to be in the final."
In contrast to Djokovic - who had a walkover and two matches
shortened when opponents retired - Wawrinka has endured an arduous path to the
title match, saving a match point in a fourth-set tiebreaker of a third-round
victory over Briton Dan Evans.
In addition to that epic five-setter he's played three four-setters.
Coming into the semis he'd spent 14 hours 47 minutes on
court, a figure that swelled with his three-hour, seven-minute win over
Nishikori, coming off his own five-set quarter-final triumph
over world number two Andy Murray, seized the initiative with a near flawless
first set, breaking Wawrinka for a 3-2 lead and closing it out with an ace on
He broke Wawrinka again to open the second, but the Swiss
was gradually beginning to find his range and broke back to level the set at
Trailing 0-40 in the seventh game, Wawrinka was able to save
five break points to hold and knotted the match at two sets apiece with a break
in the 12th game.
After taking the third and breaking Nishkori at love for a
2-0 lead in the fourth, Wawrinka appeared to be on his way.
But he found himself down 0-40 in the fifth game and after
the Swiss saved two break points Nishikori had it back on serve when Wawrinka
fired a backhand wide.
There was little respite for Nishikori. A quick break back
and a hold at love and Wawrinka was back in charge.
"He dictated play early tonight, put pressure on me and
gave me no time," said the Swiss.
"I had to wait and fight and make him uncomfortable. He
got tired and I started to be more aggressive."
Wawrinka, who shocked Djokovic in the 2015 French Open
final, was looking forward to his first US Open title tilt.
"I am really excited, I want to enjoy the moment,"
he said. "I have seen the final here on TV many times, watching Roger,
Although Djokovic holds a 19-4 record over Wawrinka,
including two victories since that Roland Garros surprise last year, Wawrinka
welcomed the chance to take him on again.
"To play Novak again it will be very special," he
Results from the 12th day of the 2016 US Open tennis championships at Flushing Meadows on Friday (x denotes seeded player):
Novak Djokovic (SRB x1) bt Gael Monfils (FRA x10) 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-2
Stan Wawrinka (SUI x3) bt Kei Nishikori (JPN x6) 4-6, 7-5, 6-4, 6-2
Laura Siegemund/Mate Pavic (GER/CRO) bt Coco Vandewegh/Rajeev Ram (USA/USA x7) 6-4, 6-4
The defeat ended 26-year-old Nishikori's hopes of improving on his runner-up finish to Marin Cilic in the 2014 final at Flushing Meadows.