Federer sets blockbuster SF with Djokovic

Roger Federer will attempt to curb Novak Djokovic’s 43-match winning streak when the pair meets in a blockbuster semi-final clash at Roland Garros. Federer earned his place in the last four after ousting remaining French hopeful Gael Monfils 6-4, 6-3, 7-6(3) on Tuesday in Paris.

The 29-year-old Federer is the last player to have beaten Djokovic, dismissing the Serb in straight sets in the semi-finals of the 2010 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in November. Since then, Djokovic has won seven successive tour-level titles and steered Serbia to victory in the Davis Cup final in December.

Federer leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 13-9, but since beating Djokovic in London has lost to him in their past three matches, including in straight sets in the Australian Open semi-finals in January.

The match holds extra significance for the 24-year-old Djokovic, who will rise to World No. 1 in the South African Airways 2011 ATP Rankings if he reaches the final in Paris.

Gusting winds led to difficult conditions at Roland Garros on Tuesday, but it was Federer who mastered the elements better to overcome Monfils and reach the semi-finals in Paris for the sixth time.

After recovering from a slightly slow start, in which the ninth-seeded Monfils broke to lead 2-1, Federer levelled at 3-3 before breaking again in the 10th game to take the first set as Monfils miscued a forehand wide. It was the Frenchman’s turn to recover an early break deficit in the second set, but Federer regained his lead in the sixth game courtesy of a Monfils double fault and went on to take a two-set lead.

With Monfils growing increasingly frustrated by the conditions, Federer capitalised on his momentum to break in the first game of the third set. However, a lapse in concentration from the Swiss proved costly as Monfils took advantage to level at 2-2 and found some of his best tennis throughout the set as he fended off Federer’s advances to force a tie-break. The Frenchman’s inconsistency proved his undoing in the tie-break, though, and a near-faultless Federer claimed victory in two hours and 34 minutes.

"Novak is been playing fantastic this season, so I know I have to play some of my best tennis," Federer said. "I have a couple of days to prepare for that and come up with a good game plan."

“Playing against him is always difficult. I knew the stakes were high. He’s young, he’ll have more opportunities. I have to take the few that I still have,” the 16-times grand slam champion, who won his only Roland Garros title in 2009, said courtside.

Date: 31.05.2011, Souce: ATP, Reuters


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