No. 1 seed Novak Djokovic survived a major upset on Saturday afternoon, defeating No. 9 seed Stanislas Wawrinka, 2-6, 7-6 (7-4), 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. The victory allowed Djokovic to advance to the U.S. Open final for the fourth year in a row after an epic marathon match that took over four hours to complete.
Wawrinka dominated at the start of the match as Djokovic looked visibly frustrated early. Djokovic had four double faults and 14 unforced errors in the first set as Wawrinka cruised to a 6-2 win.
Djokovic rebounded in a wild back-and-forth second set that lasted over an hour. Although he still struggled with Wawrinka's powerful backhand, Djokovic cut his mistakes down and held on to win 7-6 (7-4) tie the match up. He was helped out by 19 unforced errors from Wawrinka, but the Swiss man came back in the third set to capture a convincing 6-3 win to take the lead in the match.
Wawrinka appeared to run out of gas in the fourth set, quickly dropping the first three games and looking more unhinged. Wawrinka's frustrations boiled over at one point when he broke his racket, earning him a penalty.
Wawrinka continued to struggle before leaving the court with an injury timeout. He returned after just a few minutes, but was in obvious discomfort. Djokovic took care of business, 6-3, to force a fifth set.
The highlight of the match came in that set when the two players duked it out in a game that featured 12 deuces and lasted over 20 minutes. Wawarinka finally came out on top to take a 2-1 lead in the set. That lead was short-lived, however, as Djokovic proved why he's the No. 1 player in the world while taking four out of the next five games to put Wawrinka on the ropes. He finished the set, 6-4, to end the match after over four hours.
This is the furthest Wawrinka has ever advanced in a Grand Slam, making the semifinals after stunning Andy Murray in the quarterfinals. He nearly pulled off another big upset over Djokovic, but it was not to be.
For Djokovic, his attention now turns to the finals, where he hopes to win his first U.S. Open title since 2011. He will face either Rafael Nadal or Richard Gasquet on Monday.