(1)Novak Djokovic d. (3)Roger Federer 6-4, 7-5, 6-3 [2:05 h]
In a repeat of last year’s dramatic semifinal, Djokovic avenged that 4-set defeat easier than could have been expected. Federer led with a break in the 1st set (3:2), with a two-break advantage in the 2nd set (3:0), he broke the Serbian player also at 4-all to serve for the set, lost the vital game to ’30’ though, and since that moment the match was actually over. Djokovic added another break (the fourth in the set!) to increase his lead to two sets to none. Federer admittedly played just one set more than Djokovic en route to the semifinal but he is almost six years older and much more spent, moreover he was 0-2 down in his previous match. All these factors influenced on the third boring set in which Djokovic hadn’t any problems to win all service games and broke once the forehand-error spreading Swiss maestro. ”I hope we’ll play a shorter match because playing six hours in Australia was very long,” Djokovic said on final. ”But it was a great match. I think it was the most beautiful match of my life, of my career. I look forward to another beautiful match.” Federer stated: ”‘I was actually feeling particularly well in the second set, and that one hurts the most to lose. In the third, I don’t know, I just wasn’t able to put a good game together anymore. You’re down two sets to nothing against Novak and it’s not the same match anymore. He goes for broke and has no fear and that’s about it.” It was their record-tying tenth meeting in Grand Slam tournaments. Federer should overcome this record this year with either Nadal or Djokovic.
# Most matches at majors:
10 – Rafael Nadal vs. Roger Federer (8-2) 10 – Ivan Lendl vs. John McEnroe (7-3) 10 – Roger Federer vs. Novak Djokovic (5-5)
(2)Rafael Nadal d. (6)David Ferrer 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 [1:46 h]
The best Spanish players of the last few years, create one of the biggest “head to heads” in the modern history of tennis, unfortunately a lopsided one. Before this semifinal they had played 19 times with Rafa winning 15 matches, so obviously he was a huge favorite but the way he outplayed Ferrer this time, could surprise a bit the rather empty stadium (people began gathering in the 3rd set awaiting another semifinal). Quite modest expectations of an equal encounter evaporated in the 4th game of the 1st set. Ferrer wasted two break points and it was a one-way traffic since then. Nadal showed a flawless tennis while the underdog made more unforced errors than usual. The six-time champion even when slipped and fell on his bottom, was able to play a good dropshot from uncomfortable position and a volley-lob in the following stroke already standing! Even a short rain-break at 4:1 for Nadal in the 2nd set didn’t help the older Spaniard. Serving to win that set, “King of clay” displayed his majesty: played a beautiful backhand overhead (15-all), and made a passing-shot with a blistering forehand on a full speed (40/15). He is yet to lose a set in six matches losing only 35 games in total (he advanced to French Open finals in similar style also in years 2007, 08 & 10). For Ferrer it’s the third semifinal defeat in majors (US Open 2007, Australian Open 2011). “I tried to do my best, but when the opponent was better than me in the moment, there’s nothing I can say,” commented the loser. “He played all the time very good; I didn’t have any chance. Rafael is a very good player on clay courts. He’s the best in history, and today he did an amazing match. I’m very happy with my game all tournament. Maybe today was not the best match of these two weeks, but it’s my first semi- final in Roland Garros.”