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Might as well have been Open mike night for Novak Djokovic.
Popular on YouTube for his imitations of other pros, and egged on by the crowd, Djokovic showed he had a talent for more than tennis after he won Thursday.
Dancing a little jig, he did a dead-on rendition of Maria Sharapova. Tugging at his shorts, he nailed Rafael Nadal.
"Obviously, the people are looking for that. They're looking for a good tennis player and a player with a lot of emotions and a lot of temperament and personality," he said.
Yep, he might have a future in that racket.
For now, he's got at least one more match to play at the U.S. Open.
Djokovic reached his third straight Grand Slam semifinal, beating No. 17 Carlos Moya 6-4, 7-6 (7), 6-1.
"My goal is to be No. — player of the world," the third-ranked Serb said. "I've been working for that all my life. And still I'm just 20, so I have a lot of time left."
Encouraged by USA Network's reporter, Djokovic put on the most entertaining show yet at center court.
Pretending to preen his hair, he did a perfect impression of Sharapova's serve. Dashing wildly toward the back wall, he conjured up Nadal.
Moya saw part of the act.
"It's funny. He does it very well. That's a gift," he said. "If he doesn't succeed in tennis, he has a career in that."
Said Djokovic: "I'm really happy that the people accept it in a positive way. I'm not trying to make fun of Maria or Rafa or anybody else."
There's only one person he can't imitate.
"The untouchable one &
Roger," he said. "He's too perfect for my style."
At this rate, he might soon get to see Mr. Federer.
On Saturday, Djokovic will play No. 15 David Ferrer, who made it to his first major semifinal by beating No. 20 Juan Ignacio Chela 6-2, 6-3, 7-5.
The top-ranked Federer is in his record 14th Grand Slam semifinal in a row and plays No. 4 Nikolay Davydenko on Saturday. Federer is 9-0 against Davydenko, and does almost as well against the other two men left &
7-0 against Ferrer, 4-1 against Djokovic.
On the women's side, Venus Williams will play Justine Henin in Friday's marquee matchup.
After beating Serena Williams in her previous match, Henin will try to become only the second woman to beat both sisters at the same Grand Slam tournament. Martina Hingis did it at the 2001 Australian Open.
"It will be a good challenge for me to play both sisters in the same tournament," Henin said.
In the other women's semi, 2004 U.S. Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova will play No. 6 Anna Chakvetadze.
Djokovic has a lot of skills, including a talent for bouncing the ball before he serves.
He did it 28 times before he served at a key spot in the tiebreaker. Djokovic put that serve into the net, but eventually won the set.
Moya said he wasn't bothered by Djokovic's routine. What troubled Moya was that Djokovic kept putting those balls in play.
"It's annoying because you know a huge serve is coming," he said. "If he does that and misses, that's OK."
Djokovic dropped the bounces into single digits by the third set, when he overwhelmed the Spaniard.
"This is just a matter of concentration. I'm trying to really focus and not irritate anybody. Sorry if I'm a bit annoying," Djokovic said. "The thing is, I want to stay longer on this court, so that's why I'm bouncing more and more."
Last month, Djokovic beat Federer for the first time. That happened in the final of a hard-court tournament in Montreal when Djokovic became the first man since 1994 to defeat men ranked Nos. 1-3 at the same event.
A night after Federer and Andy Roddick thrilled the crowd, it was far from a high-voltage afternoon at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
There was a constant murmur inside &
many fans were chattering during play, and no one bothered to hush them. A few cell phones went off, usually a clear no-no met with stern looks.
Midway through the Ferrer-Chela match, the concession stands that sell $6 Coney Island hot dogs were empty. So were the counters where they line up Grey Goose vodka bottles for $8 mixed drinks.
Hardly anyone stepped into the Ralph Lauren walk-in boutique store on the suite level, either.
The 20th-ranked Chela had won the previous meetings against Ferrer, both in 2004. Like Ferrer, the Argentine was trying to make it to his first Slam semi.
Coming off a pair of five-set matches, Chela tried to rally in the second set. The eighth game went to seven deuces before Chela won, then Ferrer came back and quickly closed it out.
Chela broke Ferrer for a 2-0 lead in the final set but couldn't hold on.
"That was my only real chance," Chela said.
Djokovic advances to semifinals
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