NEW YORK -- Maybe Novak Djokovic is growing up.
Yes, he was muttering to himself and gesticulating wildly during his 7-6 (2), 6-1, 6-2 victory over 17th-seeded Gael Monfils of France in the U.S. Open quarterfinals Wednesday.
And, yes, Djokovic smacked himself in the head twice with his right hand -- after winning a point.
But the 23-year-old Serb managed to figure out how to deal with the swirling wind that topped 20 mph, choosing tactics wisely -- he won points on 40 of 59 trips to the net -- and never allowing Monfils back into the match after a tight first set.
"It might be the case that (I've) developed," 2008 Australian Open champion Djokovic said. "Over time, you get experience playing in the different conditions, different situations."
He adjusted Wednesday, and he didn't let the wind bother him nearly as much as Monfils did. It was Monfils, after all, who tried to get too fancy in the match's fourth game.
As a ball headed toward him, Monfils jumped and brought his racket around his body and through his legs, when a regular swing would have sufficed. His attempt at a trick shot -- a variation of one Roger Federer hit for a winner against Djokovic in the 2009 semifinals at Flushing Meadows -- landed in the net.
"I thought, 'Please, don't make it,' " Djokovic said. "I have been experiencing that too many times."
Clearly, the guy some call "The Joker" is still in possession of his well-known sense of humor.
Monfils, meanwhile, was not amused one bit by how hard it was to handle the wind, which kept changing directions and carried shots this way and that. "I was completely lost," he said. "Can't serve. Can't really use my forehand. You run for what?"
The wind clearly affected play all day, and there were about a half-dozen points that were stopped because debris -- brown napkins; plastic bags; players' towels -- wound up near the court during top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki's 6-2, 7-5 victory over 45th-ranked Dominika Cibulkova in the last women's quarterfinal.
"This felt like playing in a hurricane or something," said Wozniacki, who is 19-1 since Wimbledon and has won her past 13 matches.
In Friday's semifinals, the 2009 U.S. Open runner-up will face 2010 Wimbledon runner-up Vera Zvonareva. She was perfectly steady -- in her mind and with her strokes -- and beat 31st-seeded Kaia Kanepi of Estonia 6-3, 7-5 in Wednesday's first singles match. A year ago in New York, during a fourth-round loss, Zvonareva wasted six match points in and threw a tantrum on court.
In the day's final match, Roger Federer served his way to a 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 victory over fifth-seeded Robin Soderling to reach the semifinals.
Federer, seeded No. 2, accumulated an 18-2 edge in aces against the big-hitting Soderling and improved his career mark against the Swede to 13-1. The lone loss had come in their most recent match, in the French Open quarterfinals this year.
Soderling's victory there ended Federer's streak of reaching the semifinals at a record 23 consecutive major tournaments.
Federer then lost in the quarterfinals at Wimbledon, too, prompting some to question whether his best days were behind him. But now he is back in the semifinals at a Grand Slam tournament -- one that he has won five times.