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Federer faces Del Potro for sixth straight title

Roger Federer advanced to the US Open final, and his 16th Grand Slam final, on Sunday by defeating Serbian fourth seed Novak Djokovic 7-6 (7/3), 7-5, 7-5. He described his penultimate point as the "greatest shot" of this career.


AFP - Hitting the greatest shot of his amazing career on the penultimate point, Roger Federer advanced to the US Open final on Sunday by defeating Serbian fourth seed Novak Djokovic 7-6 (7/3), 7-5, 7-5.

World number one Federer will play for his sixth consecutive US Open title and record-stretching 16th career Grand Slam crown on Monday against Argentine sixth seed Juan Martin del Potro, who is 0-6 lifetime against Federer.

But the moment everyone will be talking about from Federer's semi-final triumph will be the back-to-the-net, between-the-legs running forehand which the Swiss superstar swatted past the stunned Serbian for an astounding winner.

"I do (practice) them a lot actually but they never work," Federer said. "That's why I guess it was the greatest shot I ever hit in my life."

Viewing a television replay moments after the match, Federer exclaimed, "That's unbelievable."

Djokovic was serving at 0-30 and lured Federer to the net, then lofted a lob to the back line that sent Federer dashing to run it down.

With no chance to spin, look back or otherwise set himself, Federer leaped above the ball, brought his right hand down the middle of his body and smacked the ball between his legs, just over the net and into the empty part of the court.

"I was in a difficult position. I had nothing to lose," Federer said.

The crowd roared its approval and Federer won with a forehand winner on the next point to end it after two hours 34 minutes.

"In these moments he comes up with some great shots," Djokovic said. "That shot. You heard the crowd. What can you say? You say well done. Too good. What can you do?"

Djokovic was broken only in the last games of the second and third sets and lost the tie-break by dropping five of the last six points.

Federer, trying to match the all-time US Open record of six titles in a row by Bill Tilden from 1920 through 1925, stretched his US Open unbeaten streak to 41 matches and will play for the 1.6 million-dollar top prize.

Federer, in the semi-finals for a record 22nd Grand Slam event in a row, completed a career Grand Slam by winning the French Open crown in June and set a record with his 15th career Slam title in July at Wimbledon.

Not since Rod Laver's 1969 Grand Slam sweep has anyone won three Slams in a row in the same year.

Djokovic was denied a third career Slam final after his 2007 US Open final loss to Federer and his 2008 Australian Open title run. Federer, 28, also beat Djokovic, 22, in last year's US Open semi-finals.

The rain-delayed final marks the first time in 40 years that back-to-back men's titles will be decided on Monday, Federer having captured last year's final over Britain's Andy Murray a day later than usual thanks to rain.

Federer, 9-4 all-time against Djokovic will make a 21st Slam finals appearance and his 17th in the past 18 Slams, missing out only at the 2008 Australian Open, when he lost to the speedy Serbian in the semi-finals.

Djokovic saved a break point in the 11th game of the first set to hold for a 6-5 lead despite losing an ace to an incorrect overrule by umpire Norm Chryst.

Djokovic won a review challenge on the line call overrule but was given only a first serve not an ace even though lunging Federer appeared to have no hope at hitting it.

"My serve was a winner," Djokovic argued.

"I thought he had a chance to get it," Chryst replied. "I thought he had a play."

Federer won five of the last six points tie-breaker points to take the set, two on errant Djokovic backhands and three on his own winners, the last on a drop volley.

In the second set, Djokovic won a review challenge to get credit for a forehand winner and hold serve to 4-4.

Djokovic made five stabbing volley returns in a row during an amazing point in the 11th game, answering Federer with lunging forehands and backhand until just turning his back and bending over, unable to handle the frenzy of shots.

Federer seized command by breaking Djokovic in the 12th game to win the set. Federer won the penultimate point off a net cord, Djokovic unable to backhand volley the ball over the net, and hit a forehand winner to take the set.

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