NEW YORK (Reuters) - Serbia’s Novak Djokovic and Spaniard David Ferrer rolled into the U.S. Open semi-finals for the first time in their careers with dominating last-eight victories on Thursday.
Third seed Djokovic reached his third grand slam semi-final of the year with a 6-4 7-6 6-1 victory over Spain’s Carlos Moya, and now faces Ferrer for a place in Sunday’s final.
Ferrer, the 15th seed who accounted for compatriot Rafael Nadal in the fourth round, achieved his best result in a major with a 6-2 6-3 7-5 triumph over Argentina’s Juan Ignacio Chela.
In Saturday’s other semi-final, world number one and three-times champion Roger Federer will battle fourth seed Nikolay Davydenko.
The women’s semi-finals take centre stage on Friday at Flushing Meadows.
Top-ranked Justine Henin faces two-times champion Venus Williams, while 2004 winner and fourth seed Svetlana Kuznetsova squares off against Russian compatriot and sixth seed Anna Chakvetadze.
Djokovic was just 11 years old when the 31-year-old Moya won his lone major at the French Open in 1998.
In the crucial second set tiebreaker, the 20-year-old Djokovic survived a set-point to win 9-7 and take control of the two-hour, 18-minute quarter-final on Arthur Ashe Stadium.
“I knew that Carlos is a very good player, a competitor, a former number one,” said Djokovic. “He has a lot of experience on the big matches on the big courts.
“He had a great tournament but luckily I played my best tennis and had more luck in the second-set tiebreak. In the third set, I played really well.”
Moya was broken in the opening game of the final set and again in the fifth and seventh games against an inspired Djokovic. He double-faulted at match point.
Ferrer, who stunned French Open champion Nadal in the last 16, beat 20th seed Chela in just over two hours to become only the fourth Spaniard to make the last four at the U.S. Open in the open era.
“Maybe the last three matches is the best tennis (of my career),” said the 25-year-old Ferrer.
“I’m playing really very well on hard courts and it’s unbelievable. If you had told me before that I would get to a semi-final on hard courts, I would not have believed you. I believe in clay, maybe, but not in hard court.
“This tournament is a dream.”
Chela was appearing in his first U.S. Open quarter-final and despite the setback, the 28-year-old said he was pleased with his efforts.
“It’s maybe a little bit difficult to think about it now because I’ve just lost, but it’s been a good tournament,” he said.