Novak Djokovic sat out last year's U.S. Open to rest an elbow injury that eventually required surgery, but that pain and frustration felt like a distant memory on Friday when the Serb completed his march to the NY final with authority.
Novak Djokovic defeats John Millman in straight sets 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.
Djokovic, for whom this was an 11th consecutive quarter-final victory, has called on US Open organisers to find a solution.
The thirteen-time Grand Slam title victor will now take on Kei Nishikori of Japan to book his berth in the second consecutive Grand Slam final of the year.
The No. 21 seed continued his strong season after returning from a wrist injury that forced him to miss the U.S. Open a year ago and will play No. 6 seed Novak Djokovic on Friday.
The popular Queenslander said he copped online abuse after his first-round loss to Taro Daniel at Winstom Salem the week before the US Open.
Nishikori, a finalist in NY in 2014, will feature in his third US Open semifinal after defeating No. 7 seed Marin Cilic in a grueling five-set encounter, 2-6 6-4 7-6 4-6 6-4. You could see him motioning to his team asking for something to be brought to him.
"Tough couple, first two sets".
He had two game points for a 5-2 lead but a double fault and a backhand wide opened the door for Cilic, who stormed through, shouting "Got it!" when he secured the break to narrow the gap to 4-3.
"Especially the top players, they always try to set their own form, so to say, around the Grand Slams because that's where they want to play their best".
While second favourite Rafael Nadal [3.65] dragged himself through almost five hours and was kept playing until almost three in the morning to win his quarter-final, Djokovic has dropped only two sets since the start of the tournament.
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"I was really tested", Djokovic said on court after the match.
Still in search of her first Grand Slam title, the Keys reached her third semifinal in the past five majors by using her big-strike game built on serves and forehands to overpower No. 30 Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain 6-4, 6-3.
"Just like my entire body was shaking, so I'm really glad I was able to play well today", she said.
"I was struggling. He was struggling".
Upon missing a gimme volley - after Millman retrieved a lob with some incredibly scrambling - and then pushing a return wide, Djokovic staggered back into position before tipping water over his head at the changeover.
But Djokovic broke back in the match's next-to-last game, then served out the victory at love. The Serb saved five break points in the second game of the second set and he had to dig deep at 4-5 as well, fending off two set points in the game with seven deuces to level the score at 5-5.
"Naomi's doing well, because she has won a Masters (Indian Wells in March)".
Osaka becomes the first Japanese woman in a Grand Slam semifinal since Kimiko Date at Wimbledon in 1996.
But it was Djokovic who benefited from the break.
"I can only talk about myself", Djokovic said.
The Serbian won only four of 20 break points against an opponent whose surprise run has been one of the stories of the tournament.