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Djokovic downs del Potro to reach U.S. Open semis

Playing terrific defence and catching lines with his shots all night long, defending U.S.
Novak Djokovic is the defending champion.

Playing terrific defence and catching lines with his shots all night long, defending U.S. Open champion Novak Djokovic beat 2009 champion Juan Martin del Potro 6-2, 7-6 (3), 6-4 on Thursday to reach the semifinals at a 10th consecutive Grand Slam tournament.

The showcase matchup was compelling throughout, and closer than the score line indicated. The thrilling second set lasted 84 minutes - 11 more than Djokovic's entire first-round victory last week.

The second-seeded Serb will face fourth-seeded David Ferrer of Spain on Saturday. Ferrer advanced to his fourth career major semifinal by using his highe nergy brand of leg-churning, ball-chasing tennis to outlast eighth-seeded Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia 6-3, 6-7 (5), 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (4) in 4 hours, 31 minutes.

Ferrer trailed 4-1 in the last set, but in the next game, Tipsarevic slammed to the ground while chasing a drop shot and stayed down for a few moments. Tipsarevic, 28, later had his right thigh taped up.

When the match ended on Tipsarevic's backhand into the net, Ferrer raised his arms, then knelt near the baseline. The weary foes met at the net for a hug.

"I don't have words," said Ferrer, who reached the semifinals at the French Open in June. "It was a very emotional match."

Might have been the best of these two weeks so far, filled with twists and turns and plenty of theatre.

Olympic champion Andy Murray and 2010 Wimbledon runner-up Tomas Berdych - who eliminated 17-time major champion Roger Federer in four sets - earned their semifinal berths Wednesday.

Ferrer is the only man left who has never reached a Grand Slam final.

Meanwhile, all the ingredients are in place for a classic finish to the women's singles tournament with a stellar cast set to take the court today in semi-final action.

The four survivors include the winners of this year's three slams: Victoria Azarenka (Australian Open), Maria Sharapova (French Open) and Serena Williams (Wimbledon) as well as Roland Garros runner-up Sara Errani, who looms as the underdog after drawing Williams in the semis.

Williams is the overwhelming favourite to beat Errani.

There is no clear favourite between Azarenka and Sharapova. The pair have played each other nine times with Azarenka holding a 5-4 lead.

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