NEW YORK, Sept. 7 (Xinhua) -- The world number one Novak Djokovic of Serbia survived a five-set battle to outclass Stanislas Wawrinka 2-6, 7-6 (7-4), 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 on Saturday, setting up a meeting with world number two Rafael Nadal of Spain in Monday's final.
"That's what we live for, what we practise for," said the Serbian who reached his fourth straight U.S. Open final, about the epic 249-minute match against ninth-seeded Swiss.
When Wawrinka finally kept his serve in the third game of the fifth set, he got as much applause and cheers from the 25,380 attendance as the winner.
"I gave everything of my own," said the 28-year-old Wawrinka, who won the respect in his Grand Slam semifinal debut.
It wasn't the longest match between the two players. They had played each other in the Australian Open and Djokovic also won in five sets, which lasted for 302 minutes, namely 53 minutes longer than Saturday's match.
"I think that is completely different match than the match we played in the Australian Open. In the Australian Open I had to play my best game to stay with him."
The first set was a surprising one, in which the ninth seed made three breaks to win 6-2.
Wawrinka took his good form into the second set, breaking the 26-year-old Serbian to lead 4-2. Djokovic refused to give up, winning the next three games to overtake the lead 5-4. Both players kept the serve until the tiebreak, in which Wawrinka made a key double fault to lose 7-4.
The third set went smoothly in the first seven games, and Wawrinka managed to break afterwards, holding serve to take a 2-1 lead.
Djokovic took back a set by 6-3, taking the match into the decisive fifth set. The 21-minute game took place after 1-1. Wawrinka's service game produced as many as 12 deuces. The world number ten saved five break points to hold his serve, giving himself a 2-1 lead.
"Wawrinka was a better player for most of the better part of the match because he was aggressive and played better tennis," said Djokovic about the game.
"Other hand, I just tried to hang on and fight and be mentally tough and believe all the way thought I can actually win."
However, Wawrinka felt more difficult to keep his next serve, dropping the game to allow Djokovic to lead 3-2. Neither player was able to break in the following game and Djokovic finally won the match 6-4.
The two players tied in total points won 165-165, Wawrinka hit 19 more winners than his opponent, but made 23 more unforced errors.
"I think I was playing better than him," said Wawrinka. "I was doing much more things than him."
"But he's not No. 1 for nothing. He was staying with me all the match, and at the end he pushed me, pushed me far, far, far back."
Djokovic will fight for his second Grand Slam title this season after winning the Australian Open earlier this year. He had played U.S. Open final in last three years, but only took the title in 2011.
"Playing four finals now in a row and five in total, I mean, it's great," said Djokovic. "Seven, eight years that I have been coming back here I have played at least semifinals in every U.S. Open. Fantastic."
Nadal beat French talent Richard Gasquet 6-4, 7-6 (7-1), 6-2.
Nadal broke in the very first game and led by 2-0. Gasquet couldn't find any chance to break back, losing the first set 6-4.
Gasquet finally accomplished his break in the second set, and the two players leveled until 6-6 to enter the tiebreak where Nadal dominated to take the set 7-6 (7-1).
Nadal made things easier after leading 3-0 to start the third set, moving on to conclude the match 6-2.
"Win the second set I don't say is done, but is a big advantage," said Nadal about the match.
The winner of nine ATP titles in this season would face Djokovic in the final on Monday, and that would be the 37th time for the two to play each other.
"I prefer to play against the another one," joked Nadal.
"It's good for both of us, we are playing at very good level so the match becomes great because we play long rallies, we bring our game to the limit situations, and becomes a very difficult match for both of us."
It was Nadal's 11th straight victory against Gasquet.
"I made the semi-finals, so sure for me it's a big step," said Gasquet.
"Last time I did it was six years ago, very long for me."
Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka of the Czech Republic beat Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua of Australia 2-1 to harvest the women's doubles title.