Thursday 7 June 2012

Swiss Mastero vs Serbian Magician (Roland Garros 2012 Semi-Final Preview)

We could not have asked for more, the Former No.1 vs Current No.1, former 3 Slams holder vs current 3 Slams holder, Federer vs Djokovic. We are all in for a treat with the Swiss Serbain War and an all Spanish love affair. This is going to be the 26th chapter of the Swiss Serbian War and 10th part of their on court battles at Grand Slams. Federer won 14 of the previous 25 battles contested between the two. The Swiss Mastero holds a slim 5-4 edge in their encounters at Grand Slams. However, Djokovic has won 3 of the pair's last 4 encounters at Grand Slams.

Both come into this clash on the heels of epic comeback wins in their quarter-finals against dangerous opponents. Tsonga had Djokovic on the ropes, wasted 4 match points and Djokovic did not give him 5th. Del Potro at the same time had Federer in trouble as he won the first 2 sets, before his knee injury came back to trouble him in the last 3 sets, and Federer ran off with the last 3 sets to set this mouth watering clash.

Djokovic comes into this match having won the pair's 5 of last 6 encounters, most recent being a straight sets victory in the semi-finals of Rome. Djokovic will for sure have last year's match in his mind when he walks onto the court, where Federrer put an end to Djokovic's 41 match winning streak. Let us try to read into their clash!

Description      Djokovic      Federer    
Match Record this year      35-5      36-4
H2H        11        14
H2H on clay          2          3

Federer has been shaky throughout the tournament and having dropped 5 sets so far, will be a little less favourite, as compared to the World No.1 Djokovic. Djokovic himself was not so brilliant in his 5 set win over Tsonga, but he has been better, and given he won the pair's last encounter on clay in straight sets in the semi-finals of Rome just 3 weeks ago, Djokovic must be the favourite. I am a huge fan of Federer, and you must be pondering, why I, as a fan am not referring to their last year's encounter at the same stage in the same tournament. Well, last year the circumstances were different, Federer going into the match was playing well (though not better than Djokovic, but of-course better than his current year's form), but this year he has not been himself, although he has been able to win matches, but that spark, that brilliance, that authority is not there. We witnessed some of that in the last 3 sets of his quarter-final win over Juan Martin Delpotro, and if he has to have any chance against Djokovic, he must remain focussed and aggressive throughout the match. He has been having mental lapses for some time now, and if he has to make it to his 6th Roland Garros Final, he must not let those lapses come to him him during the match.

Djokovic is one of the best returners on the tour, and he will look to target Federer's backhand side, and if Federrer's backhand breaks down he will stand little chance against Djokovic. Serve will be most important for both players, the one who will take care of his serve better than the other will definitely stand a better chance. Federer will have to keep his unforced errors under control, while Djokovic will have to push Federer for more, and go for his shots from the start, if he is to make a trip to his first Roland Garros final and have a chance at creating history.

Let us have a look at their stats so far in the tournament.

Description DjokovicFedererComments
1st Serve   %67%60%Federer needs to improve on his first serve, if his to have any chance against Djokovic, otherwise the Serbian Magician will cast a spell on the Swiss Mastero's second serve.
1st Serve Points Won73%75%Not much difference in this department
2nd Serve Points Won61%62%Not much difference here either.
Break Points Saved16/2824/34Federer's serve has not been very good so far in this tournament, he will for sure look to improve in this department and will try to avoid being broken.
1st Return Points Won40%33%Djokovic will have to keep this up, if he wants to win it.
2nd Return Points Won53%55%Not much difference
Break Points Converted43%40%This will be the most crucial area for both players, who ever fares better in this category on the day, will be more likely to walk away smiling.

There is not much that separates the two at the moment, but we all know that it also depends greatly on the form of the player on the given day as well.

Let us have a look at the highlights of their epic encounter here last year.

The longer the match goes on, the better Federer's chances will be to win the match. Djokovic will be highly motivated to extract some revenge for the heart breaking loss he had last year here at the hands of Federer, which snapped his 41 match winning streak.. Djokovic has been to the final of 5 of the last 6 Grand Slams he has played, winning 5 of them. Federer on the other hand has been to the final of only 1 grand slam of the last 8 he has played. Whose time will it be? Will it be the Serbian Magician or the Swiss Mastero? Who are you rooting for??? Who do you think will be playing on Sunday and who will be packing his bags after the match???
The video and picture used in this article are not my property.


  1. The loss last year wasn't as "heartbreaking" as you think. He flew to London and began practicing on grass straight away, with the best of all possible results.

    I must disagree that if Federer's chances increase if the match goes longer. Djokovic is a monster in 5-setters, can outlast anyone on tour. Among active players, he's second to none in deciding 5th sets.

  2. Tinica, I think you fall hard after flying so high and for such a long time! But only my opinion :)

    You are no doubt right about Djokovic's record in 5 set matches, but clay is different in that it wears you out! Just for an example look at their last year's clash at RG. Djokovic was physically struggling a lot by the end of the second set. Let us hope for a great match.