Novak Djokovic loves the US Open. The 23-year-old Serb played his first Grand Slam final here in 2007 and last night he reached the semi-finals for the fourth year in succession when he beat France's Gaël Monfils 7-6, 6-1, 6-2 after two hours and 24 minutes. In the last four Djokovic will face either Roger Federer, the only man to beat him here since 2006, or Robin Soderling, who were playing in yesterday's night session.
Monfils, who had the support of his countryman Thierry Henry in the crowd following the striker's move to New York Red Bulls, made a good start, breaking Djokovic to lead 4-2, but the world No 3 recovered and took the first set to a tie-break, which he won 7-2.
Thereafter Monfils faded quickly. The world No 17 did not hold serve once in the second set and was broken twice in the third, by which stage he was attempting some shots that were outlandish even by his standards.
Kim Clijsters remained on course to defend her title when she reached the semi-finals despite an erratic display against Samantha Stosur. The Belgian, who won 6-4, 5-7, 6-3, hit eight double faults, made 43 unforced errors and dropped her serve seven times. She now plays Venus Williams, who beat Francesca Schiavone 7-6, 6-4. Williams and Clijsters have beaten each other six times, but the Belgian has won their last four meetings. Vera Zvonareva beat Kaia Kanepi 6-3, 7-5 yesterday and will meet Caroline Wozniacki or Dominika Cibulkova, who were meeting last night, in the other semi-final.
The men's off season is likely to be increased by two to three weeks from 2012. Adam Helfant, the executive chairman of the Association of Tennis Professionals, said here yesterday that he hoped a final decision on a new calendar would be made in November.