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By Mangosuthu Buthelezi
Memories of a long brotherhood tempered in common struggle
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Topic - Stanislas Wawrinka
Nadal leads Djokovic 22-16 in their head-to-head record, but the Serbian won their latest encounter last month in Beijing after losing his top ranking to the Spaniard.
Djokovic, undefeated in last year's Finals, improved to 2-0 in Group B with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 victory over the hard-hitting Juan Martin del Potro. Federer, who lost to Djokovic earlier in the week, easily defeated Richard Gasquet.
Just nine months after returning from his career-threatening injury, Nadal became the first player to hold, lose and regain the year-end No. 1 spot twice by beating Stanislas Wawrinka 7-6 (5), 7-6 (6) at the ATP finals. Roger Federer and Ivan Lendl did it once in their careers.
Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have built the best rivalry in tennis on a mountain of big-time matches, the likes of which they'll play Monday in the U.S. Open final
Nadal and Djokovic will meet Monday in their third final at Flushing Meadows in the last four years, the only break coming last year when Nadal was out with a knee injury.
Third-seeded Murray won his first Grand Slam title at Flushing Meadows last year and his second at Wimbledon this July. But he was overmatched from the beginning on a blustery day in Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Defending champion Andy Murray could face top-seeded Novak Djokovic only in the U.S. Open semifinals, while Nadal and Federer — who have never played each other at Flushing Meadows — might meet in the quarterfinals.
Darcis of Belgium stunned the two-time champion 7-6 (4), 7-6 (8), 6-4. He ended Nadal's 22-match winning streak and eliminated one of the Big Four of men's tennis on the very first day of the grass-court Grand Slam.
Djokovic, the winner of six major titles, seeks to become the eighth man to complete a career Grand Slam, but he'll have to get past seven-time French Open champion Nadal first.
Williams beat Maria Sharapova 6-1, 6-4 in the final Sunday to retain her No. 1 ranking and collect her 50th career title, while Rafael Nadal eased by Stanislas Wawrinka 6-2, 6-4 for his fifth title since returning from a knee injury.
The Davis Cup champion Czech Republic begins defending its title on Friday when Lukas Rosol opens against Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland.
The top-ranked Djokovic is the first man in the Open era to win three straight Australian titles — nine others have won back-to-back but were unable to win three in a row.
Novak Djokovic wrapped up his victory at the Australian Open on a sweet note.
Andre Agassi says one of the biggest regrets of his career was waiting until 1995 _ a full decade after turning professional _ to play in the Australian Open.
The top seed stayed clothed after beating Tomas Berdych 6-1, 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 Tuesday to reach the semifinals in about half the time it took him to win his previous match against Stanislas Wawrinka, which prompted a shirt-ripping celebration.
"He is playing better tennis than me," said Wawrinka, who has yet to win a set against Nadal.
"He was quite nervous. I was really tired," Wawrinka added. "I was struggling physically, and it was not easy to keep the level quite high. But, for me, it was just important to fight and not to let him go and not to lose 6-1 or 6-2, but just to try to get every game I can."