NEW YORK — When Novak Djokovic smacked a forehand long to hand Roger Federer a break in the fifth set of their U.S. Open semifinal, the more than 23,000 fans in Arthur Ashe Stadium let loose a huge roar of applause.
Once the undisputed King of the U.S. Open, Federer had been cast as the underdog against the world’s No. 1 player and the crowd was clearly in his corner.
“That the crowd got into it was fantastic,” Federer said. “I think they were really hoping I was going to win today and I felt that. It definitely gave me a lift on top of that.”
Federer held double-match point at 5-3, 40-15 in his ensuing service game and it appeared to everyone in the stadium that the five-time former champion would return to the U.S. Open final after a one-year absence.