MELBOURNE, Australia, Jan 29 – Serbia’s Novak Djokovic is 26-23 up in his career matches against Roger Federer heading into their Australian Open semi-final on Thursday. But he has not lost to the Swiss at Grand Slam tournaments since the 2012 Wimbledon semi-finals.
Here are five classic matches between the two great rivals:
– 2007 US Open, final –
Federer won 7-6 (7/4), 7-6 (7/2), 6-4
Djokovic, then 20, had beaten Federer, then 26, for the first time in the Canada Masters final before the US Open but the Swiss, already the swaggering king of tennis with 11 Major titles to his name, wasn’t about to let the young upstart overcome him in the New York decider.
Djokovic, playing his first Grand Slam final, held set points in both of the first two sets but Federer held firm to get the job done in 2hrs 26 mins.
“Straight sets is a bit brutal for Novak to be honest. He deserved better than that,” Federer said. “I told him at the net, ‘Keep it up.’ He’s going to have many more battles like that.”
– US Open 2010, semi-final –
Djokovic won 5-7, 6-1, 5-7, 6-2, 7-5
Djokovic overturned a three-year losing streak to Federer at the US Open and prevented the Swiss from reaching a seventh straight final in this pulsating five-setter.
After a match where momentum swung back and forth, Djokovic saved two set points in the fifth set before handing the Swiss master a chastening defeat.
– Roland Garros 2011, semi-final –
Federer won 7-6 (7/5), 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7/5)
It had been very much Djokovic’s season and he walked on court on an incredible 43-match winning streak with seven titles to his name in 2011.
Doubters were already writing Federer off but he ended the Serb’s run in an epic semi-final in Paris — and delayed his ascension to world number one in the process.
“I have worked a lot in my life and it’s for these types of matches. It was certainly one of my greatest matches in an extraordinary atmosphere,” Federer said.
– Wimbledon 2014, final –
Djokovic won 6-7 (7/9), 6-4, 7-6 (7/4), 5-7, 6-4
Djokovic knelt and ate blades of Wimbledon grass after he shattered Federer’s dream of a record eighth title in a sensational final at the All England Club.
In only his second Major final against the Swiss, Djokovic saved a match point and struggled across the finish line to end a run of three defeats in Grand Slam deciders.
“Sincerely, this has been the best quality Grand Slam final that I have ever been part of,” said the Serb, who had beaten Rafael Nadal in a nearly six-hour Australian Open decider two years earlier.
– Wimbledon 2019, final –
Djokovic won 7-6 (7/5), 1-6, 7-6 (7/4), 4-6, 13-12
In the longest final seen at Wimbledon, stretching 4hrs 57mins, Federer outplayed Djokovic for large parts of a knife-edge encounter before narrowly failing to become the tournament’s oldest winner at 37.
Djokovic saw off two match points in the 16th game of the final set — which lasted more than two hours — to earn the distinction of being the first man in 71 years to win the title from match points down.
“It was long and it had everything. I had answers, so did he and we played some great tennis,” said Federer.
“I hope I give some other people at 37 the feeling it is not over yet.”