NEW YORK - David Ferrer thrived in the whipping winds that blew through Flushing Meadows on Saturday but the Spaniard could not find his top form and fell to Novak Djokovic when their weather-hit semi-final was completed Sunday.
"Every match is different. Every day is different," said the 30-year-old Ferrer, who lost 2-6 6-1 6-4 6-2 and was still looking to reach his first grand slam men's singles final after a fourth trip to the semi-finals.
Ferrer led 5-2 on Saturday when organisers suspended play at the National Tennis Center due to an approaching storm.
After holding serve to claim the first set 6-2 once the match resumed under Sunday's sunshine, Ferrer was overpowered by the reigning champion Djokovic, who advanced to Monday's finals against third-seeded Olympic champion Andy Murray of Britain.
"Today, Djokovic, he plays better than me," said Ferrer, who lost the last three sets in less than two hours against a barrage of winners from the 25-year-old Serb.
Ferrer, who will return to Spain for this weekend's Davis Cup semi-final against the United States, said he was pleased with his showing in the year's last slam.
"Of course, I am very positive," he said. "I reached the semi-final in a grand slam, my second time in a semi-final here at the U.S. Open."
Ferrer enjoyed his best career season, winning five tournament titles on three different surfaces and registering his top year in the grand slam events.
The Spaniard, known for his fierce competitiveness on the court, reached quarter-finals at the Australian Open, losing to Djokovic, got to the semi-finals of the French and the quarter-finals of Wimbledon, where he fell to Murray.
At the U.S. Open, he provided one of the most dramatic victories of the tournament by winning a fifth-set tiebreaker against Serbian Janko Tipsarevic in the quarter-finals.
Despite the disappointment of coming so close once again to reach a grand slam final, Ferrer remained upbeat and positive.
"I am very happy with me and with my performance," he said.
(Editing by Gene Cherry)