Wimbledon semifinals: Roger Federer vs. Novak Djokovic
Is Friday’s Wimbledon semifinal match between No. 1 Novak Djokovic and No. 3 Roger Federer the de-facto championship match? Most people think so. Djokovic, the defending Wimbledon champ, is a slight favorite on WagerWeb.com.
Federer, who lost in the quarterfinal rounds the last two years — losses that fed speculation that Federer would not win a 17th major title — moved into his eighth Wimbledon semifinal with a dispassionate dismantling of 26th-seeded Russian Mikhail Youzhny, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2, on Centre Court in 1 hour 32 minutes. Federer is looking for a seventh Wimbledon title, which would tie Pete Sampras’ record.
Playing at almost the same time on Court 1, top-seeded and defending champion Novak Djokovic was almost as dominant against an equally overmatched opponent with a 6-4, 6-1, 6-4 win over 31st-seeded German Florian Mayer in 1:45.
Federer, who turns 31 in August, has been plagued by a dodgy back for several years now. It came into play in his previous match against Xavier Malisse, requiring a consultation with both a trainer and a doctor. Federer’s movement has been limited ever so slightly and the back has been a leading factor.
Against Youzhny, it didn’t seem to limit him.
“My back is holding up,” Federer said. “I could focus on tennis again, on tactics I wanted to play, instead of focusing on how to manage little issues or big issues, whatever you want to call them.”
Federer has now beaten the Russian in all 14 of their matches. Youzhny has won all of three sets in 35 opportunities. It should be noted, however, that Youzhny’s wife, Yulia, gave birth to their second son last night, hours before he took the court.
For the last 18 months the No. 1-ranked Djokovic has been the winner of four majors, unable only to conquer clay court at the French Open. Last year Federer beat Djokovic in the semifinals in Paris and this year Nadal beat him in the finals.
Federer leads the 25-year-old Serb 14-12 in career meetings but Federer has lost six of his last seven matches against Djokovic. Possibly the most devastating was at the U.S. Open in 2011 when Federer held two match points on his serve in the fifth set but lost, 6-7, (7), 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 7-5. But the two have never played on Wimbledon’s grass, the place where Federer’s precise tennis has been most rewarded.
Wimbledon quarterfinals: Roger Federer vs. Mikhail Youzhny
Roger Federer, who is looking for his record-tying seventh Wimbledon title, fought off the effects of back trouble to reach the quarterfinals at the 2012 Championships by defeating 31-year-old Belgian Xavier Malisse 7-6, 6-1,4-6, 6-3. Federer’s reward is a date against another player in the 30-and-over age bracket doing well at Wimbledon this year, Russian Mikhail Youzhny. Federer is a huge favorite on WagerWeb.com.
Federer has seldom been slowed by health issues, but he briefly left the court Monday because of a back injury and had spectators wondering whether he would return. After an eight-minute delay, Federer resumed whacking winners and went on to beat frequent foil Malisse. The 16-time Grand Slam champion reached his 33rd consecutive major quarterfinal, extending his Open era record.
Federer’s back began bothering him early in his match. He blamed the cool, windy weather and the lingering effects of an arduous five-set win over Julien Benneteau three days earlier. Federer’s serve lacked its usual speed, but his play seemed otherwise unaffected by the bothersome back. An hour after the victory, he said he already felt much better.
“Honestly I’m not too worried,” he said.
On Wednesday he’ll play No. 26-seeded Youzhny, who edged Denis Istomin 6-3, 5-7, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 7-5. Federer improved to 10-1 against Malisse. He’s 13-0 against Youzhny.
Federer and Youzhny just played in the Gerry Weber Wimbledon warm-up tournament in mid-June, with Federer spanking the Russian 6-1, 6-4 to reach the final (where Federer lost). Youzhny has won three of the 32 sets they’ve played against each other.
“I never beat this guy,” Youzhny said, “so just now I can’t talk like about my dreams, what I have to do on court to beat Roger.”
Six times Youzhny had tried to reach Wimbledon’s quarterfinals. Six times he had failed before Monday to become the first man from his country to reach the last eight here since Marat Safin in 2008. Youzhny is a good grass player who has been unlucky in the past in the fourth round. Twice he has faced Rafael Nadal and once each Federer, Lleyton Hewitt and Patrick Rafter at the peak of their powers.
A Federer victory sets up a likely semifinal match against world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, who is a big favorite for his quarterfinal match Wednesday vs. Florian Mayer.
Australian Open men’s semifinals: Roger Federer vs. Rafael Nadal
The best rivalry in tennis for the past decade or so resumes in the semifinals of the Australian Open when third-seeded Roger Federer and No. 2 seed Rafael Nadal meet for a spot in Sunday’s final. It’s the 27th time these two Hall of Famers will have met. Federer opened as the slight -115 tennis bets favorite on WagerWeb.com for Thursday night’s match in Melbourne.
Four-time Australian Open champion Federer advanced to his ninth straight semifinal at Melbourne Park with a 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 quarterfinal win Tuesday over Juan Martin del Potro, the man who beat him for the U.S. Open title in 2009. It was the 1,000th match in Federer’s pro career and he has yet to drop a set here in 2012. Nadal took 4 hours and 16 minutes to beat Tomas Berdych 6-7 (5), 7-6 (6), 6-4, 6-3, reach his 18th major semifinal.
Federer and Nadal – they were ranked 1-2 for many years – have been on opposite halves of the draw since the 2005 French Open. That was the last time the pair met in a Grand Slam semifinal, won that year by Nadal in four sets.
Nadal takes a 17-9 lifetime edge into Thursday’s match, including a 7-2 edge and a four-match winning streak in the majors. The last time Federer emerged victorious on the Grand Slam stage was the 2007 Wimbledon final, and it’s a trend he badly wants to reverse.
Nadal handed Federer two of his toughest losses, triumphing in arguably the greatest match of all time at Wimbledon in 2008 and repeating his five-set heroics at the ensuing Australian Open. Few thought Nadal had it in him in 2009, given he had contested a five-hour, 14 minute marathon against Fernando Verdasco in the semifinals two days before. Federer enjoyed an extra day of rest back then.
“We played a lot of matches against each other, in very important moments for our careers and very high moments,” said Nadal, a 10-time Grand Slam champion. “So the match is special.”
They played four times last year, with Nadal winning in the semifinals in Miami and Madrid and in the final of the French Open. But Federer stopped the streak emphatically when he dismantled Nadal, 6-3, 6-0, in the round-robin phase of the ATP World Tour Finals in November. Federer, not Nadal, has been on the much bigger roll of late. He has not lost since the semifinals of last year’s United States Open, winning his last 24 matches. His only blemish came when he retired before the semifinals in Doha with his back problems.
“Even if it’s not a final, it’s still a huge match,” Federer said.
Djokovic, Murray look to join Australian Open semifinals
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have advance to the semifinals of the first tennis Grand Slam of the season, the Australian Open, and now top-seeded Novak Djokovic, the WagerWeb.com tournament tennis bets favorite, and No. 4 Andy Murray look to join Rafa and Federer when they take the court late tonight U.S. time Down Under.
Djokovic, the world No. 1 and defending champion, takes on fifth-seeded David Ferrer of Spain. Djokovic was pushed in his last match by Aussie Lleyton Hewitt. Up two sets and 3-0 in the third, the wheels came off. Djokovic was stretched to four sets and even had to fend off a break point in the infancy of the fourth when the score was tied. He finally put the banged-up Hewitt away 6-1, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals.
Djokovic’s serve and forehand, in particular, tailed off. In the first two sets, he made a combined five forehand unforced errors. The number rose to 14 in the last two. His first-serve percentage fell in the middle of the third, and overall Djokovic was broken four times.
Djokovic’s next opponent, Ferrer, is similar to Hewitt: He hustles for every ball and is a fine returner. But at this juncture of their careers, he’s better than Hewitt. Mind you, Ferrer won’t be the overwhelming crowd favorite Wednesday, as “Rusty” was.
Ferrer topped Djokovic at the year-end championships in London in December, and even if the Serb was fatigued, Ferrer will take confidence from the 6-3, 6-1 victory indoors. That result allowed Ferrer, a semifinalist in Melbourne last year, to edge closer in their head to heads. He trails 6-5.
Murray, seeded fourth and looking for his third straight trip to the finals of this tournament, faces No. 24 seed Kei Nishikori of Japan. Nishikori’s defeat of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga moved him into his first grand slam quarter-final and also made him the first Japanese male to make it into the last eight at the Australian Open in 80 years. Before Nishikori, Shuzo Matsuoka was the only Japanese player to reach the latter stages of a Grand Slam event, when he made the 1995 Wimbledon quarterfinals.
Murray beat the 22-year-old Nishikori 6-0 6-3 in the semifinals of the Shanghai Masters in 2011 in the pair’s only previous match.
Final Nadal-Federer match of year looms at ATP Finals
he final tennis tournament of the season begins Sunday at London’s O2 Arena with the ATP World Tour Finals, and the pairings have been set for the biggest event that’s not a major. Top-ranked Novak Djokovic, who is still trying to recover from injury, and Andy Murray are in Group A for the tournament. Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer will meet in the opening phase of the event after both were drawn into Group B.
Federer beat Nadal in last year’s ATP final, but the second-ranked Spaniard still leads their head-to-head series 17-8. Their most recent meeting was in the French Open final, when Nadal beat Federer for the title at Roland Garros for the fourth time. Federer, however, is coming off two straight tournament victories. He won in his hometown of Basel and then claimed the title at the Paris Masters on Sunday. Nadal hasn’t played since losing at the Shanghai Masters last month.
Murray will head to London having won three tournaments during the autumn, although his bid for a fourth straight success was ended by Tomas Berdych at the BNP Paribas Masters. He was beaten in the Tour Finals at the semi-final stage 12 months ago, losing out to Nadal and he could face the same player again in the last four after avoiding him in the group stage.
Djokovic has three grand slams to his name this year, but he has been struggling with injuries since the summer. He has lost just four times this year, but withdrew from last week’s event in Paris with a shoulder problem and is under a cloud. Murray trails Djokovic 6-4 on their head-to-head record, but has a verdict over the Serb in 2011 – albeit when the world No. 1 was forced to retire during the Cincinnati Masters final. Djokovic will finish the season No. 1 regardless of what happens here.
This event is a round-robin format featuring the world’s top eight ranked players. Djokovic and Nadal, as the top two seeds, were kept apart in the draw, as were third-ranked Murray and fourth seed Federer. David Ferrer and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, as the fifth and sixth best players in the word were also separated, as were seventh and eighth-ranked Tomas Berdych and Mardy Fish, the lone American in the field.
Wimbledon preview: Roger Federer
Some consider Roger Federer the best player in tennis history, and his 16 Grand Slam titles are the most of anyone. But he’s still one short of Pete Sampras’ record of seven Wimbledon titles. And Federer has won only one of the past three Wimbledons, and that was the year Rafael Nadal was out injured. The Swiss star is just 2-6 in his career vs. Nadal in Grand Slam finals. Federer hasn’t won a major since the 2010 Australian Open.
Federer has second-seeded Novak Djokovic as his projected semifinal opponent; Federer ended Djokovic’s 43-match winning streak at the French Open. The third-seeded Swiss will face Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan in the first round, and could encounter former finalist David Nalbandian in the third round.
2011 Match Record: 34-8
2011 Singles Titles: 1
Career Singles Titles: 67
Major Titles: 16 – Wimbledon (’03, ’04, ’05, ’06, ’07, ’09), U.S. Open (’04, ’05, ’06, ’07, ’08), Australian Open (’04, ’06, ’07, ’10), French Open (’09),
Last 5 Wimbledons: ’10-QF, ’09-W, ’08-F, ’07-W, ’06-W
Overview: Has won six Wimbledon championships; trying to join Sampras and Willie Renshaw (who played in the 1800s) as the only men to win seven singles titles at the tournament. … Has reached at least the quarterfinals at a record 28 consecutive Grand Slam tournaments. … This will be last Grand Slam tournament for Federer before he turns 30 on Aug. 8.
French Open semifinals: Roger Federer vs. Novak Djokovic
It’s one of the most anticipated semifinal matches in recent Grand Slam history on Friday morning U.S. time at Roland Garros in Paris when third-seeded Roger Federer faces second-seeded Novak Djokovic for a spot in Sunday’s French Open final. Djokovic is a -300 favorite on WagerWeb.com with Federer at +200.
The winner of this match faces the winner of top-seeded Rafael Nadal and No. 4 Andy Murray on Sunday. The top four seeded players made the semifinals at a Grand Slam tournament for only the 12th time in the Open era.
It’s rare that Federer is such a big underdog. But he hasn’t made a Grand Slam final since winning the Australian Open last year. And Federer is 0-3 vs. Djokovic this year, having taken just one set. But the Swiss star also is the last person to beat Djokovic, winning 6-1, 6-4 at the end of 2010 in the ATP Tour World Finals. And Federer, who has just one title this year to Djokovic’s seven, seems to be playing well as he hasn’t dropped a set in Paris.
Djokovic is on an historic run, as he is 41-0 this year and 43-0 overall since that loss to Federer. A win over Federer will tie Djokovic with John McEnroe for the most consecutive victories to start a season. A win also will ensure Djokovic will be the world’s new No. 1 player next week no matter what Nadal does in the semis or even if he wins the tournament.
Djokovic should be rested but could be rusty as he didn’t even have to play his quarterfinal match as his Italian opponent was injured in his previous match and pulled out a day before he was even set to face Djokovic. The Serb didn’t get credit for a win in that match.
Federer leads the all-time series 13-9. The two have met on clay three times, with Federer winning twice. But Djokovic won the last clay meeting, at the 2009 Masters event in Rome.
Here are all of Djokovic’s victims in 2011:
Australian Open (7-0)
1. Marcel Granollers
2. Ivan Dodig
3. Viktor Troicki
4. Nicolas Almagro
5. Tomas Berdych
6. Roger Federer
7. Andy Murray
8. Michael Llodra
9. Feliciano Lopez
10. Florian Mayer
11. Tomas Berdych
12. Roger Federer
Indian Wells (6-0/18-0)
13. Andrey Golubev
14. Ernests Gulbis
15. Viktor Troicki
16. Richard Gasquet
17. Roger Federer
18. Rafael Nadal
19. Denis Istomin
20. James Blake
21. Viktor Troicki
22. Kevin Anderson
23. Mardy Fish
24. Rafael Nadal
25. Adrian Ungur
26. Blaz Kavic
27. Feliciano Lopez
Madrid (5-0, 32-0)
28. Kevin Anderson (2)
29. Guillermo Garcia-Lopez
30. David Ferrer
31. Thomaz Bellucci
32. Rafael Nadal
Rome (5-0, 37-0)
33. Lukasz Kubot
34. Stanislas Wawrinka
35. Robin Soderling
36. Andy Murray
37. Rafael Nadal
French Open (4-0/41-0)
38. Thiemo de Bakker
39. Victor Hanescu
40. Juan Martin del Potro
41. Richard Gasquet
Djokovic into French semifinals, likely against Federer
That’s because his quarterfinal opponent, Italy’s Fabio Fognini, announced Monday that he would not be able to play his scheduled match Tuesday against Djokovic after Fognini injured a muscle in his left leg while beating Albert Montanes on Sunday. Fognini beat Montanes 4-6, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 11-9 to reach his first Grand Slam quarterfinal but suffered a Grade 1 sprain while doing so.
“The doctors say if I play tomorrow maybe it can be dangerous,” Fognini said, calling his decision “difficult” and adding he had his leg checked by a doctor only 20 minutes earlier.
“I have a small muscle tear and the doctors have decided that I should not play tomorrow,” said Fognini, who was the first Italian man to reach the Roland Garros quarter-finals since Renzo Furlan 1995. “It’s really difficult. I am finally in Paris playing against Djokovic tomorrow and he hadn’t lost like 40 matches in a row. It’s difficult because it’s the best tournament of my career, but I think it’s the best solution.”
Thus Djokovic now can’t break Guillermo Vilas’ record of 46 wins in a row at the French Open because Djokovic will not be credited with an official victory. If Fognini had taken the court and then retired, it would be counted as a win for Djokovic, who is 41-0 in 2011 and has won 43 straight matches overall. Djokovic can still break John McEnroe’s record of 42 straight wins to start a season by winning the tournament.
This also means that Djokovic, who played for three straight days, will now have four days off before his semifinal match — presumably against Roger Federer, who faces Gael Monfils in the quarterfinals.
Should Djokovic win his semifinal match he would become No. 1 in the ATP Rankings next week. The only way Rafael Nadal can retain his world No. 1 ranking is if he wins the title and Djokovic loses before the final. Nadal won his match Monday to advance to the semis.