By Alessandro Mastroluca

  • Novak Djokovic [2] v Roger Federer [3]
  • The Swiss has never beaten the Serbian in a best-of-five clash since the 2012 Wimbledon semifinals
  • The Serbian leads the head to heads 26-23, he’s 10-6 at Grand Slam level
MELBOURNE, Australia -Djokovic bids to reach his 26th major final, Federer the 32nd. Winning the title, the Serbian will return to No.1

 

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Novak Djokovic [2] v Roger Federer [3] | Djokovic leads H2H 26-23

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Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic will reinvigorate the second-longest rivalry in the Open era. The seven-time champion Serbian will face the six-time Swiss titlist for the 50th time. Djokovic leads 26-23 in their head to heads and owns a 10-6 lead in Grand Slam previous meetings.

He looks like the clear favourite, having not lost to the Swiss in a best-of-five clash since the 2012 Wimbledon semifinals. Federer, the oldest player to reach the last four here since Ken Rosewall in January 1977, remained on court 12 hours and 44 minutes. He looks concerned by his groin problems against Tennys Sandgren and his conditions could have an impact in the incoming semifinal.

Federer is bidding to reach his 32nd Grand Slam final, Djokovic aims to reach his 26th and to close the gap on Federer and Rafael Nadal at the top of the list. The winner of this match will record a 30th victory against a Top 5 opponent at a Grand Slam.

READ MORE | Tennis | Australian Open 2020 | Day 9 Diary: Federer survives 7 match points to meet Djokovic

The Serbian has other goals, too. He hopes to record his 11th victory over Federer at the Grand Slams and move ahead of Nadal at the top of the list for most Grand Slam match-wins against the Swiss. Besides, should he go on to lift the eight Australian Open title, he will return to No.1 in the ATP Rankings on February, 3.

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Federer, who was in Melbourne Park today and looked easy-going and relaxed, has a 31-14 win-loss record in Grand Slam semifinals overall; but seven of his Grand Slam semifinal defeats have come at the Australian Open, where he owns a 7-7 win-loss record at this stage.

Djokovic, through to his 37th Grand Slam semifinal, could record his 100th Tour-level match-win against a Top 5 player (he is 99-66). His game suits perfectly the conditions here, on the slower GreenSet, with the particular balls that quickly tend to become fluffy, his elasticity has been a dominant factor. His renewed, fluid and essential movement on serve gave him a further edge.

Almost untouchable on both his service and return games in the first five rounds, Djokovic was able to dictate play and play on his own terms. Federer, who reached the semifinals without facing a Top 50 opponent, must play the perfect match to have a chance to upset him.

The winner of this instant classic will reach the Australian Open final for the 8th time and claim sole ownership of
the all-time record for most Australian Open finals.

Prediction: Djokovic in four sets

Djokovic & Federer are scheduled on Rod Laver Arena, not before 7:30pm (8:30am GMT).

 

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