Novak Djokovic spent no time in disposing off Kei Nishikori in the men’s singles semi-final on Friday to move into the final where he will play the 2009 US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro.
Nishikori had to battle his way past Marin Čilić in five sets, in a match that lasted more than four hours in stifling heat, winning 6–4 in the final set.
In comparison, Djokovic had a relatively easy passage, beating the unseeded Australia, John Millman in straight sets, although the score belies the fact that the Serb was made to work for his victory over a resilient opponent.
And, although the match was played at night, both men suffered from the heat, with the Australian having to leave the court completely at one stage to change his sweat-sodden clothing.
Despite this, and receiving two time violations for slow play, Djokovic will go into the final a heavy favourite to emulate the record of Ivan Lendl and Pete Sampras by reaching a seventh US Open Final. And, should he eventually win on Sunday, he will draw level with Sampras’s haul of 14 Grand Slam singles titles.
By contrast, Nishikori is in only his second Grand Slam semi-final ever, and is hoping to go one better than 2014 when he lost to Čilić in straight sets in the final. Formerly ranked as high as number four in the world, the Japanese was forced to miss most of the second part of last season with a wrist injury, which explains why he was seeded as low as 21 for the tournament.
However, those looking for pointers in their head to head record will find little encouragement for the 28-year Japanese, with Djokovic winning 14 out of their 16 meetings, most recently at the Quarter Final stages at Wimbledon in July.
Indeed, you have to go back four years to find the last Kishikori victory, although, as his fans will point out, that was at the semi-final stage of the same tournament in 2014.
Nevertheless, all the omens point to a straightforward Djokovic victory and the prospect of a potential final against Rafael Nadal on Sunday.
Match scheduling will be announced by tournament organisers on Thursday and you can check it using our US Open order of play here.