Both Djokovic and Nadal won their semi-final matches Saturday to again claim the coveted finale spot.
But while Nadal made easy work of No. 8 seed Richard Gasquet 6-4, 7-6 (7-1), 6-2 to improve his hardcourt record this season to 21-0, Djokovic needed more than 4 hours and had to survive an epic game in the decisive set to finally win over number 9 seed, Stanislas Wawrinka, from Switzerland, 2-6, 7-6 (7-4), 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.
“I just tried to hang on and fight and be mentally tough and believe all the way through I can actually win,” Djokovic said after the match that drew several celebrities including CBS’ Leslie Moonves and his wife Julie Chen, actor Ben Stiller and actress Julianna Marguiles.
Djokovic, 26, and Nadal, 27, are familiar foes, having met 36 times, more than any two players in the Open era.
When asked at his post-match news conference how much he enjoys playing Djokovic, Nadal said, with a smile, “I prefer to play against another one, but is what it is. ,,, At the end, well, we have to be honest, no? We don’t have to be stupid.”
“I need to keep playing very aggressive and play a very, very good match,” he added.
This will be their second meeting at a Grand Slam of 2013; 12-time major winner Nadal won 9-7 in the fifth set of the French Open semifinals.
“It’s always the biggest challenge that you can have in our sport now,” six-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic said of Nadal, who after coming back from a seven-month layoff in February has reached 12 of 13 finals. “I mean, he’s the ultimate competitor out there. He’s fighting for every ball, and he’s playing probably the best tennis that he ever played on hardcourts.