Novak Djokovic will aim to reach his second-straight US Open final when he faces David Ferrer in a semi-final pitting the tenacious Spaniard against the defending champion on the lookout for a fifth grand slam title from the past two seasons.
Djokovic, seeded second, ran away with the majors in 2011, winning three of the four.
This year he earned the Australian crown in January, played the French Open final and got to the Wimbledon quarters.
He has beaten fourth seed Ferrer twice this season.
“David is a fighter, he’s one of the biggest competitors we have in the game,” said the Serb.
“People overlook him. But he has been one of the most consistent players on the tour. He plays great on every surface. You need to earn your points against him.”
Djokovic is the top man in contention after the elimination of top seed Roger Federer by Tomas Berdych in the quarter-finals. The Czech will face Andy Murray in the other semi, with the Scot still looking to capitalise on his Olympic gold medal as he seeks his first trophy at a major.
Djokovic knows that Berdych could be primed for a breakthrough after playing the 2010 Wimbledon final.
“In the last stages of a grand slam, you know you’re going to have a tougher opponent, better ranked opponent. It will be high-quality tennis, and you need to rise up to the occasion.
“That’s expected. You’re coming into the match against a top 10 player knowing that you have to come up with your A game. You have to play really well, play very solid, and hope that you can win.”
Berdych is letting his racquet talk for him after knocking out Federer.
“If my game is good and I’m able to play my game, then I have a quite dangerous game to beat anyone,” he said. “Some of the other guys don’t like my game so much. I bring something different and that could be my chance.”
Murray is desperate to make his mark on the game after losing four finals at the majors, including the US Open to Federer four years ago.
“I would hope that going into the match I’ll be in a good place mentally. I’ll fight from the first point to the last. If I do that, I’ll give myself a shot.” Murray called Berdych a huge hitter.
“Even if you want to dictate points and be aggressive, he can take that away from you because he’s such a powerful guy. You need to be smart against him. You need to use good variation and try not and give him the same ball over and over, because he likes that.”
Berdych leads their head-to-head 4-2 with the pair splitting a pair of matches this season.