Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have played for many notable titles in the past 16 years, battling in the final at three different Majors. Still, two great rivals have never met at the US Open, standing a win away from the Arthur Ashe Stadium encounter but never making that one last step that would set a thrilling and expecting meeting. One of those situations came in 2010 when the Spaniard advanced to his first US Open final, awaiting Roger Federer or Novak Djokovic. Competing against each other for the fourth straight year in New York, Novak fended off two match points against Roger in a stunning 5-7, 6-1, 5-7, 6-2, 7-5 victory in three hours and 44 minutes! Djokovic erased those two match points at 4-5 in the decider, firing two brave forehand winners and rattling off three straight games to cross the finish line and spoil the final between two dominant figures in men’s tennis from the last half a decade.
Federer came back from 4-2 down in the opener to grab two breaks and steal it 7-5. Djokovic was the only player on the court in the second set, and the five-time winner responded with a late break in the third to build another advantage. The Serb dominated set number four to force a decider, where he had momentum. Still, Novak played a loose service game at 4-5 to face two match points, staying calm and landing two brave forehand winners to take the danger away and gain a massive boost. Novak broke Roger at 30 in the 11th game and fended off a break chance in the next one before sealing the deal and moving into the third Major final. After the encounter, Federer praised Djokovic, and he also said he would have loved to meet Rafa at the US Open for the first time.
Roger Federer squandered two match points against Novak Djokovic at the 2010 US Open.
“I had a couple of matches this year when I was close to the finish line. They feel somewhat empty at the end because you have tried everything, and maybe it was the opponent’s luck or the right shot; you never know. I don’t feel I have that many regrets in that regard. Obviously, you feel like you left something out if you lose the match having had match point. I was not tired; it was not a long match, and there were no extended rallies. I felt good physically, and the wind was not an issue like in the previous rounds. I would have loved to play Rafa here; I was the finalist in the last six years, and unfortunately, he was never there.
We were a point away from playing against each other in the final, but it was not to be. I tried to play aggressively and not give Novak too much rhythm, and it all came back at me. Sure, I missed a few too many forehands at the very end, but the encounter won’t be decided on winners only. You can also see mistakes, and Novak pushed me to make those; credit to him. I feel like I’m playing well, and I would have deserved to be in the final tomorrow. Novak played well against me in our previous three meetings here in New York. He knows how to play under pressure, and he has proven that many times. I kind of felt like the racquet was in my control. I just let those couple of sets slip away too quickly instead of maybe making him work extra hard. But, again, I did have a match point, and I was a couple of points away from the win, like in the last year’s final,” Roger Federer said.