Novak & Roger: The Rivalry, Matches 11-20
A recap of every match between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer...
2011 Australian Open semi-final, Grand Slam, Melbourne, hard, Djokovic d. Federer 76(3) 75 64
After suffering a resounding defeat at Roger Federer’s hands in their last meeting at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, Novak Djokovic came out with a point to prove when the pair contested the Australian Open semi-finals two months later. With neither player able to engineer a breakthrough in the first set, Djokovic took control of the tie-break, battering Federer into submission with his powerful baseline play. Breaks were exchanged early in the second set before Federer raised his level to establish a 5-2 lead. The Swiss was unable to serve out the set, though, and was made to rue his missed opportunity as Djokovic reeled off five straight games for a two-set lead. Federer rallied from an early break deficit in the third set, but the comeback went no further as Djokovic won the final two games from 4-4 to claim victory in three hours. "Overall, it was a great performance," said Djokovic. "I'm very happy with the way I played. I knew that I had to use my chances." Djokovic had also defeated Federer in straight sets in the 2008 Australian Open semi-finals, which was the last time Federer had lost a Grand Slam match on hard court in straight sets.
2010 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals semi-final, London, indoor hard, Federer d. Djokovic 61 64
Roger Federer dominated his rivalry with Novak Djokovic in 2010 and secured his fourth win in five meetings with the Serb in emphatic style in the semi-finals of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. The Swiss delivered a master class to dismiss Djokovic in just 80 minutes in their 19th career meeting. He hit 31 winners to only 14 from Djokovic, and broke serve four times from 11 opportunities. Djokovic paid the price for a nervous start and after double faulting to lose his opening service game he never recovered. After claiming the opening set with two service breaks, Federer rallied from an early break down in the second set to break Djokovic in the fifth and ninth games. "I was able to outplay him at times, play aggressive," said Federer. "I took it to him, exactly the way I was hoping to make it. I thought it was a great match."
2010 Swiss Indoors Basel final, ATP World Tour 500, Basel, indoor hard, Federer d. Djokovic 64 36 61
In their 18th meeting, Roger Federer put behind him the defeat he suffered to Novak Djokovic in the final of his hometown tournament a year earlier by beating the Serb to regain the trophy he had won from 2006-2008. The top seed made a fast start and broke Djokovic in the third game as he quickly wrapped up a one-set lead. The second-seeded Djokovic was quick to respond, though, breaking Federer’s serve for just the second time in the week at the start of the second set to level the match. Federer was riding an eight-match winning streak going into the final and his confidence helped him keep his focus in the deciding set. From 1-1 he won five successive games to seal victory in just under two hours. After the devastation of losing the US Open semi-final against Djokovic having held two match points, Federer had now won his past two meetings with the Serb. "We always play very athletic against one another," said Federer. "I always think it’s really close, they can go either way. I had match point [against him] at the US Open and that one hurt, but look, this one makes up for it big time."
2010 Shanghai Rolex Masters semi-final, Shanghai, hard, Federer d. Djokovic 75 64
Federer exacted revenge for his US Open semi-final defeat against Djokovic, as he defeated the Serbian to reach the final of the Shanghai Rolex Masters. The two players had been in impressive form in the lead-up to the eagerly anticipated semi-final and produced a high quality contest right from the start of their 17th meeting. In an 11-minute, 25-second fourth game, Federer was forced to save three break points. The third-seeded Federer then capitalised on successive backhand unforced errors from Djokovic to break through in the 11th game. He quickly broke down Djokovic’s defences in the second set as he raced to a 4-1 double-break lead. Djokovic recouped one of the breaks, but could not take his comeback any further as Federer held strong to seal victory in one hour and 42 minutes. "I think the first set could have gone either way today," said Federer. "It was really an open battle. I think for 10 minutes he was a bit out of it and I was able to take advantage of that. I think that cost him the match looking back."
2010 US Open semi-final, Grand Slam, New York, hard, Djokovic d. Federer 57 61 57 62 75
Having lost to Roger Federer three consecutive years at Flushing Meadows, Novak Djokovic overcame a significant mental hurdle as he saved two match points to upset the five-time US Open champion in a pulsating semi-final victory. "I had to take the chances when I was down match points," said Djokovic. "That’s why [Federer] is the best player that ever played this game, because he always plays his best tennis in the most important moments. It was almost the case again today." Serving at 4-5 in the fifth set, Djokovic fell behind 15/40 but saved both match points with a swinging forehand volley and a down-the-line forehand winner. The Serb then broke Federer in the next game and his nerve was again tested in the final game of the match when he fought off a break point that would have seen the match come down to a fifth-set tie-break. On his first match point, Djokovic trumped Federer in a 22-shot rally to close out the match.
2010 Rogers Cup semi-final, ATP World Tour Masters 1000, Toronto, hard, Federer d. Djokovic 61 36 75
It was not their prettiest encounter, but this contest between Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic had fans in Toronto on the edge of their seats until the very last point. With the No. 2 ranking on the line, Federer capitalised on a spate of unforced errors from Djokovic to race to a 6-1, 2-0 lead. But after belatedly switching gears to play with a greater margin for error, Djokovic worked his way back into the match and eventually held three break points on Federer’s serve at 5-all in the third set. Federer held on, though, and then watched on as the match finished as it started, with Djokovic spraying five errors in the final game to lose serve and the match. "He’s known for being a bit streaky and we saw that tonight," said Federer. "I could have won the match earlier but I’m very happy to have come through anyhow."
2009 Swiss Indoors Basel final, ATP World Tour 500, Basel, indoor hard, Djokovic d. Federer 64 46 62
In their fourth meeting in a final and their fifth contest of 2009, Novak Djokovic dethroned three-time defending champion Roger Federer at his hometown tournament in Basel. The Serbian broke Federer in the ninth game of the first set and saved four break point points before serving out the opener in a 22-minute 10th game. Federer dug deep to rally from an early break down in the second set and benefitted from an untimely double fault from Djokovic in the 10th game as he levelled up the contest. However, the momentum soon swung back in Djokovic’s favour as the Serb raced to a 4-0 lead in the decider. Federer could find no way back and saw his 19-match unbeaten run in Basel end after two hours and 11 minutes. "I missed too many chances throughout the match," lamented Federer. "Novak played well and made it tough for me to get chances, but when I had them he also played well."
2009 US Open semi-final, Grand Slam, New York, hard, Federer d. Djokovic 76(3) 75 75
It was a match that featured arguably the greatest shot that Roger Federer has ever hit, a shot that earned him three match points and a standing ovation from the 25,000 spectators in Arthur Ashe Stadium. Federer appeared out of position to retrieve Novak Djokovic’s lob. But in a split second decision, the Swiss hustled to the back of the court to hit a through-the-legs shot. Federer, Djokovic and the enraptured crowd watched in amazement as the return cleared the net, past the hapless Serbian and landed in. Federer, who closed out the victory on his next point with another winner, admitted: "I was in a difficult position. I had nothing to do. We practise it a lot, but it never works. It’s the greatest shot I ever hit in my life." The shot summed up the day for World No. 4 Djokovic, who stayed competitive with Federer for most of the match but had no solutions for the Swiss’ brilliant shots on critical points. It was the third year in a row he had been beaten by Federer at the US Open. Victory marked Federer’s 40th consecutive win at Flushing Meadows and earned him a shot at a sixth successive US Open title.
2009 Western & Southern Open final, ATP World Tour Masters 1000, Cincinnati, hard, Federer d. Djokovic 61 75
Roger Federer ended a two-match losing run against Novak Djokovic as he defeated the Serb to capture his first ATP World Tour title after becoming father to twin girls, Charlene Riva and Myla Rose, earlier in the summer. In avenging defeats to Djokovic at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami and the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, Federer cruised through the 33-minute first set with two service breaks and dropping only three points on serve. Djokovic offered up more resistance in the second set and Federer was forced to rally from a 0-3 deficit, and also saved a set point in the 10th game, before crucially converting his fourth of 15 break point opportunities in the 11th game and serving out victory with a love service game. "I think the special part [is] winning for the first time as a dad," said Federer, who won the Cincinnati title for the third time. "It's a great thing. [It] gets me going emotionally a little bit, because I know it's been a wonderful summer."
2009 Internazionali BNL d'Italia semi-final, ATP World Tour Masters 1000, Rome, clay, Djokovic d. Federer 46 63 63
Rain came to Novak Djokovic’s rescue as he recorded his second successive victory over Roger Federer in the semi-finals in Rome. Federer had started the match in fine form and clinched the opening set with a break of serve in the ninth game. He was leading 2-1 with a break in the second set when the storm clouds that had been looming brought the inevitable rain. At the resumption, Djokovic won five of the next six games to level the match. Federer stalled Djokovic’s momentum early in the third set by breaking to create a 3-1 lead. However, Djokovic reined in his errors, exhibited more patience in his play, and was rewarded with the next five games to seal victory in two hours and 10 minutes. "I thought he came through with a bit more energy after the rain delay. Before that he was pretty flat," assessed Federer. "I definitely had the win on my racquet today, so it's pretty disappointing."