N DJOKOVIC (Ser) bt A RODDICK (US)
2-6 3-6 6-3 6-7 (5-7)
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0410: Professional sport simply does not get any more tense than that. A fourth set that very few of us will ever forget.
The match was Djokovic's for the taking. Two sets up and in command. But the home boy Roddick rallied. He was running the show, he had the crowd on their feet, he was serving for the fourth set.
And then from nowhere a break back and we were into a tie-break.
Game, set and match Djokovic in the blink of an eye.
Next up for the world number three from Serbia is Roger Federer, the world number two.
It's been an absolutely pleasure. Bring on the semi-finals...
Roddick 2-6 3-6 6-3 6-7 (5-7) Djokovic
Brilliantly, Djokovic holds the first point with a trademark cross-court backhand passing shot. But Roddick does just as well in holding his two serves with one outright winner and then Djoko drills a forehand long.
The pressure is on the boy from Belgrade but this is nothing he's not used to. An ace followed by a winner and it's over to Andy.
The first mini-break! Roddick goes long. Surely a challenge? No. The American accepts the line judge's call. Djoko dishes up an easy volley for Roddick at the net and we're at 4-3 Novak.
A marathon rally ensures on Novak's first serve. But in such circumstances there is only ever likely to be one winner and the A-Rod duly nets to give Djokovic 5-3. Boy am I on the edge on my seat, this is nail-biting stuff.
Roddick decides "I'm not being bullied any more" and steps in from the baseline with a forehand drive that Novak can't reach. A 142mph unreturnable serve from the A-Rod takes us to 5-5. The tension is killing me.
Roddick's second serve is going to plan for the America. Novak is chasing balls all over the place, returning the seemingly unreturnable before Roddick nets.
Djokovic serves. Roddick meets it with the forehand. It's long. It's long. It's long.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC IS INTO THE US OPEN SEMI-FINALS
Roddick 2-6 3-6 6-3 6-6 Djokovic
A-Rod holds to love. Novak can't get close to anything this game. And we're into a breaker.
"This tennis is becoming unreal. Monday it was 4am with Murray, then wednesday till 1am. Now tonight. Come on Andy Roddick. We can do it!"
Andrew in Edinburgh via text on 81111.
Roddick 2-6 3-6 6-3 5-6 Djokovic
Blimey, how many times does the momentum want to swing. If Roddick let Djokovic off the hook with two doubles in the last game, this game was all about Novak making his own fortune.
Some outstanding work at the net leaves Roddick chasing shadows and it's a hold to love. All of a sudden Roddick is serving to stay in the set. Where did that come from?
Roddick 2-6 3-6 6-3 5-5 Djokovic
You're serving for the fourth set in the quarter-finals of the US Open on Arthur Ashe Stadium. You prove to everyone how cool you are by sending down a142mph ace to go 15-0 up and then 143mph ace to go 30-0 up.
But then you crack. You fire into the net and then, inexplicably, your adrenaline turns into nerves and you double fault twice in succession. All of a sudden you're 30-40 down on serve and so you utilise your strength by coming into the net. Only for your opponent to land a beautiful lob onto the baseline.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Andy Roddick.
It's break back time. This is out of this world.
"Roddick comin back strong. Come on Andy. Then his namesake Murray will win in 4 sets. Murray to win outright."
Dave via text on 81111.
Roddick 2-6 3-6 6-3 5-4 Djokovic
For the first time this set, Roddick didn't go after Djokovic's serve. It was clear he was saving himself for his own service game. Djoko closed out to love with an ace.
Can A-Rod take it to a fifth. We'll find out very shortly.
Roddick 2-6 3-6 6-3 5-3 Djokovic
Where do we start? His improved timing? His improved belief? His improved body language? Roddick is playing out of his skin.
He moves to 40-0 with his 13th ace of the match - he didn't hit one in the first set - and takes the game when Djokovic goes long at 40-15.
Novak doesn't seem to have a clue what has hit him!
Roddick 2-6 3-6 6-3 4-3 Djokovic
With Novak on the ropes, A-Rob picked his moment to pounce and he looked as though it was a perfectly times attack. As Nole came to the net, Roddick laced a passing shot down the line for 0-15 and a winner followed by Nole netting gave him 0-40.
Admirably, Djokovic fought his way back with one inside out forehand winner and the by forcing Roddick to net. But Roddick unleashes a devastating backhand that left Djokovic flummoxed and almost doing the splits.
The crowd are making this virtually impossible for Djoko by piping up every time he goes to serve.
Roddick moves to advantage and then - remarkably, considering his frailties from the baseline in the first two sets - decides to stay back and up the anti. Djokovic is doing well simply to return the grenades but can do nothing to prevent Roddick passing him up the line for the break of serve.
Roddick 2-6 3-6 6-3 3-3 Djokovic
Remarkably, A-Road still has not to a point all game when he's made his first serve. He even dishes up a Djokovic-esque inside out forehand winner. This is one-way traffic people.
"I've got tickets for the final on Sunday but have a flight leaving at 7pm so I'm hoping for a quick yet still epic Nadal v Fed final. I may be being greedy."
Pablo in New York via text on 81111.
Great to see you're following the game with us, Pablo. I hope you make the final! I'd relish another Nadal v Fed after their Wimbledon showdown but Murray v Fed would be just great from a British perspective.
Roddick 2-6 3-6 6-3 2-3 Djokovic
It helps immeasurable amounts if, when several parts of your game are crumbling a little, your serve is holding up strong and fortunately for Djokovic that is the case. The Australian Open champ serves out to 15 with a display of near-perfect placement of serves.
Roddick 2-6 3-6 6-3 2-2 Djokovic
Despite all my earlier musing, this match is really starting to swing A-Rod's way. The 26-year-old is firmly into his groove and the unforced errors are now few and far between.
A couple of times he wins points after sending Djokovic wide in baseline rallies and when the Serb comes to the net, A-Rod is tending to direct his return straight towards the body.
My prediction is that we're on course for five sets.
Roddick 2-6 3-6 6-3 1-2 Djokovic
A couple of really special points indicate that there is still a lot left in these fellows. Everything goes Djoko's way, though, and like A-Rod the previous game, he serves out with a cool ace.
Roddick 2-6 3-6 6-3 1-1 Djokovic
It's a little unclear whether or not Djokovic has asked for the trainer. But he is definitely moving somewhat gingerly. That said, Roddick's serving has come into a world of its own and three aces help the American to another love service game.
Talking of Djokovic's injures and illnesses this tournament, here's what the A-Rod had to say before the match: ""Back and a hip? And a cramp. Bird flu. Anthrax. SARS. Common cough and cold?"
Roddick 2-6 3-6 6-3 0-1 Djokovic
On returning from a comfort break Novak looks pretty fresh but what is unmistakably clear is that Roddick is thinking a lot more. He's going to make me eat my words from earlier, I'm telling you.
Novak is losing his way and, with Roddick targeting his backhand, the Serb twice fires into the tramlines. At 30-30 Roddick hits a cross-court forehand wide - it was a glorious opportunity. An unreturnable serve followed up with an ace wrap up the game for Djokovic, though.
Don't forget to keep the texts coming on 81111. With all the favourites left in the tournament, who are you tipping to win the US Open? It'll all be decided on Sunday, weather permitting.
Roddick 2-6 3-6 6-3 Djokovic
Can somebody tell me what all the fuss was about please. Roddick serves out to love with three aces down the 'T'. B-E-A-UTIFUL...
I've rarely heard a crowd as boisterous as that on Arthur Ashe Stadium when an American is playing. Great scenes.
Roddick 2-6 3-6 5-3 Djokovic
The game starts well for a pumped up A-Rod when Nole can only net a mightily aggressive return of serve. Roddick goes long and then miscues a forehand to give Djokovic 30-15 but then the Serb nets and it's 30-30. He does so again and the crowd are on their feet. It's set point Roddick.
Novak's not going to let go that easily, though, and follows a skidding forehand with a comfortable volley into open court. Djokovic moves to advantage with a last-gasp volley off a Roddick cross-court backhand but then Roddick is the aggressor and he smashes a lob into open court.
An ace - Roddick failed to see a ball that came straight at him - takes Novak to game point and he decimates a forehand to win the game and hang on in there.
But now it's Roddick serving for the set.
Roddick 2-6 3-6 5-2 Djokovic
Without trying to sound patronising - and let me point out that I am no John McEnroe - but it comes across as a tad silly to take Novak Djokovic on from the baseline when your game isn't equipped to do so.
Far too often tonight, A-Rod has hesitation when thinking about coming to the net and on almost every occasion he has been punished.
A couple of booming serves get him out of trouble on the occasion and then a smash takes Andy to game point.
Novak forces the deuce with a forehand that wrong-foots Roddick but the A-Rod cranks up the pressure, forcing Nole to net twice. A break here and the third set is Roddick's.
Roddick 2-6 3-6 4-2 Djokovic
Now that is how to respond when you're on the ropes. Pluck an ace out of the sky, drill a couple of winners and force the man on the other side of the net to, well, hit the net.
Roddick 2-6 3-6 4-1 Djokovic
Momentum is a funny old thing, it really is. All of a sudden A-Rod is two games from the third set. He came from nowhere!
An ace, a world class passing shot or two and an unforced error from Djokovic send A-Rod into the change of ends seriously pumped up. The crowd are whooping and hollering. The PA system is belting out "oh what a night". Don't you just love the Americans?!
Roddick 2-6 3-6 3-1 Djokovic
At last. At long, long last. A-Rod is presented with his first genuine chance of the whole match. And he takes it with the help from some uncharacteristic unforced errors by his opponent.
Nole double faults to concede the first point and then fires a backhand wide. When the Serb nets tamely Roddick has three break points. The first two go begging as Nole fights for his life but the A-Rod sends down a few super groundstokes and forces Djokovic to go long.
The fists and pumping and the crowd are jumping. Yes A-Rod, yes.
"If A-rod can serve and bury the ball in the court like at the French, he may have a chance to beat Nole."
Neil O via text on 81111.
Roddick 2-6 3-6 2-1 Djokovic
Yet another stunning baseline forehand winner takes Djoko to 30-30 and a terrible, truly awful, volley at the net from A-Rod falls long. He redeems himself with an ace but then nets poorly with a top-spin forehand.
We all know Djokovic is one of the best returners in the game and so it is proving. The pair are stuck on deuce for a while and these are nervy moments for the enigmatic Roddick.
A brilliant point sees Roddick playing cap and Djokovic mouse - it finishes when Novak sprints in from the baseline to flick Roddick's drop volley round the net post but into the tramlines.
At advantage A-Rob, a power-packed serve proves too, well, powerful for Novak. And that's a vital hold for Andy.
Roddick 2-6 3-6 1-1 Djokovic
Hard, fast, quick, easy. Games, Djokovic. Minimal fuss.
Roddick is making no impact on the Serb's serve and really has to change that quickly if he is not going to be sent tumbling.
Roddick 2-6 3-6 1-0 Djokovic
Djokovic seemed out of the game as Roddick bludgeoned his way to game point, but then again exposed his opponent's vulnerability from the baseline.
A timely ace is just the ticket for A-Rod. Good lad.
"Novak is playing well within himself and winning with ease. Being a big fan of Feds I am hoping somehow Roddick wins. Rog could do with a straight sets win in the semi's."
GB in Johannesburg via text on 81111.
Roddick 2-6 3-6 Djokovic
The American crowd on Arthur Ashe are doing everything they can to rouse their man. But it simply is not working. The A-Rod has no club how to deal with Djoko's variety and the match could be heading for a swift conclusion.
Djokovic goes to set point by pinning A-Rod back and then coming in to smash a winner. The following point, A-Rod can only net a backhand and that's the second set to Djokovic.
By the way, if Djokovic wins the tournament he goes to number two in the world. He's been at number three for a couple of years now and will be desperate to usurp the great Roger Federer.
Roddick 2-6 3-5 Djokovic
Djokovic was taken to five by Tommy Robredo in the last round but I would say there is no chance of that happening here. A-Rod simply doesn't have the weapons. A pin-point laser-guided backhand missile from the baseline takes Novak to 15-30 and then Roddick inexplicably sends a cross-court backhand wide with all the time in the world.
Why Roddick has stopped coming into the net is anyone's guess. Yes, he might be passed but he has no hope in a baseline war of attrition against Djokovic. Djokovic seals the break and will not serve for the second set.
Roddick 2-6 3-4 Djokovic
So easy for Djokovic, or Nole as he likes to be knows. A love service game and now he will look to break A-Rod.
Roddick 2-6 3-3 Djokovic
What is clear is that Roddick has sorted his serve out. After a quick chat with coach Patrick McEnroe in the crowd (surely illegal?!) he is taking his time much more than before and it is working. The American wraps up the game with an unreturnable 117mph second serve.
I would dream of making a 117mph first serve, let alone a second serve!
"I am pretty sure Federer will be looking at this game not feeling too worried about who wins."
GB in Johannesburg via text on 81111.
I agree, GB. Neither player has looked in outstanding form. Djokovic is playing no better than normal, just capitalising on Roddick's failings. Roddick, meanwhile, would be swept aside by Federer in this form.
Roddick 2-6 2-3 Djokovic
At last the A-Rod unleashes an unreturnable forehand from the baseline. It gets him back in the game and gives him a sniff at 30-30. Novak will think again before feeding Roddick's forehand and then charging into the net.
But the faint hope of a break diminishes when Novak closes out with some tidy baseline winners.
Roddick 2-6 2-2 Djokovic
Much better from A-Rod that, much better. He has definitely calmed down and established a rhythm, which is long overdue. A first ace of the match, some neat approach play and incisive volleying. Nice.
0211: (See 0135) "Even if Roddick wins the US Open and Murray loses in the semis, Murray should still go fourth in the world. He'll have 2840 ranking points to 2595 for Roddick if that happens."
James in Edinburgh via text on 81111.
Thanks James, super research at this unseemly hour my friend.
Roddick 2-6 1-2 Djokovic
The boy Djokovic, reigning Australian Open champion and 2007 US Open runner-up no less, races to 40-15 with a string of points packed with variety and guile. A-Rod isn't thinking, he's simply hitting. He's being out-thought.
Novak walks to the chair only to realise he pushed a backhand wide. But when Roddick nets a forehand it is game over.
Roddick 2-6 1-1 Djokovic
I was preparing to write Roddick's obituary when he fell 30-0 down on serve but, to his credit, he really dug in and played some top class tennis.
Novak got the game started with a sublime top-spin lob that landed on the baseline and then moved to 0-30 but, after Novak netted, A-Rod responded by kicking a 130mph serve out wide and then biding his time before coming in to excellently volley two winners.
It's about time he made an impression on the Djokovic serve, though.
Roddick 2-6 0-1 Djokovic
An enthralling point sees both men trading blows - well, volleys - at the net and A-Rod goes cross-court to win the point. The fists are pumping, the crowd are on their feet.
Novak ruins their party by finishing the game with an ace down the 'T'.
Roddick 2-6 Djokovic
Roddick has received huge acclaim thus far in the tournament and from what I've seen of him, the 2003 champion has been playing so of his best tennis for years. But today's the A-Rod's game seems to have gone to pot. Completely.
In front of a passionate hone crowd, the 26-year-old seem too pumped up. He is making unforced errors left, right and centre. In fact, the count stands at 13 (compared to Djokovic's six) already.
Novak keep Andy at the back of the court and that's exactly where he wants him. A miscued forehand gives Novak break point and A-Rod nets tamely to present Djokovic another break and the first set.
To compound his woes, Roddick smashes up his racket (for the third time this tournament) and is given a formal warning. A tad harsh in my opinion.
Roddick 2-5 Djokovic
Hang my if I'm wrong but I think Roddick is on a hiding to nothing today. He nets twice and, in between, horribly miscues a backhand with a shot that was all wrist to give Novak game point. A nice winner follows from A-Rod but he nets again to hand Novak the game.
Roddick has a problem here because when he comes into the net he is invariably passed but when he stays back he has very little hope against a baseline player like Novak. Hmmmm.
Roddick 2-4 Djokovic
US Davis Cup captain Patrick McEnroe, serving as Roddick's coach today, looks a picture of anxiety. His charge sees a 40-15 lead slip to deuce through a combination of indecision from the baseline and poor execution at the net. But Roddick engineers an advantage and finishes the game off with a neat serve and volley. That's more like it, A-Rod.
Roddick 1-4 Djokovic
Pure class for Djokovic. For a man who has spent the past fortnight complaining about every injury and illness under the sun, Novak looks remarkably well, comfortable and relaxed out there. He races through this service game with an ace and three winners, including a couple of volleys. Novak is by no means shy to come to the net and attack Roddick.
Wait a sec...wasn't that meant to be Roddick's game plan?!
Roddick 1-3 Djokovic
Three breaks in the opening four games. Goodness me, what's going on out there on Arthur Ashe. Roddick talked before this match of serving hard and aggressive, coming into the net, not giving Djokovic time to return or enter into baseline rallies.
Basically folks, he just went and did the opposite to all the above.
Roddick had been broken just three times in the whole tournament before this match. He's been broken twice already by Djokovic.
0135: "Would be great to see all the top four in the semis, but I fancy Roddick to sneak it on home soil."
Stuart in Luton via text on 81111.
Just to point out for those of you who don't already know, Britain's Andy Murray will rise to a career-high four in the world so long as Andy Roddick doesn't win the US Open. Murray, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer are all into the semis already.
Roddick 1-2 Djokovic
A strange start this, it has to be said. In the blink of an eye Novak has handed the break back to Roddick. The world number three looked so calm in his first service game but allowed the A-Rod to race to 15-40 and then fired a backhand wide to concede the game.
Don't forget to get involved in the chat by texting TENNIS and then your message to 81111.
Roddick 0-2 Djokovic
Well, well, well. I wasn't expecting that. All the talk in the build-up to this match has centred around the A-Rod's serve. If his serve clicks as well as it has been doing all tournament then he puts himself in with a great chance of reaching the last four.
That was the script but Roddick obviously forgot to read it. He opens with a double fault, then allows Djokovic, one of the Tour's finest returners a couple of cheap points. A stunning lob from Novak clips the baseline to seal the first break of the match and the Serb is off to a flyer.
Roddick 0-1 Djokovic
A confident start from young Novak, the youngest player left in the men's draw I'll have you know. A couple of aces go down a treat and then a couple on unforced errors from A-Rod see him home.
0126: Here we go. Novak to serve ladies and gents, in his lime green shorts and all.
0124: The players are going through their paces on Arthur Ashe Stadium. The A-Rod is dressed in a black number with white stripes on his top. The eighth seed will be cheered on by a vociferous home crowd.
Novak is sporting a black and green outfit. The third seed is still on course for his second successive US Open final, but will he make it?
0112: Isn't it about time we completed the US Open semi-finals line-up?
Jelena Jankovic, Elena Dementieva, Serena Williams and Dinara Safina are there on the women's side, while Andy Murray, Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer are there on the men's.
So it all comes down to Andy Roddick against Novak Djokovic and I'm here to guide you through proceedings.
Let's face it, this should be an absolute cracker.