17-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer (Player Profile) played arguably one of best matches of the year as he defeated World No. 4 Juan Martin Del Potro to advance to his second ATP Masters semi-final of the season. The victory set up a titanic clash with second seed Novak Djokovic (Player Profile), their first in 2013. The match has just finished not long ago, with Novak prevailing in three sets. However, there were really good signs of Roger finding his form that helped him to capture 17 Grand Slam titles.
Federer now leads the head-to-head in the rivalry 16-14 but Djokkovic holds wins in four out of their last six meetings including their match in the finals of the 2012 year-end championships. With today’s entertaining three set match in the Paris Masters semi-finals, the tennis fans can be looking forward to some more high quality performances at next week’s ATP Finals in London, where Federer and Djokovic have been drawn into the same gr0up (including Del Potro and Gasquet). This is what Roger said the night before the semi-final clash against Djoko:
“I think we always play well against each other,” said Federer “When we play, it’s very athletic. We will both try to be aggressive and take the initiative. So tomorrow, given the surface and the conditions here, it’s also going to be the case. It’s interesting. I always liked this rivalry with Novak.”
The 2011 BNP Paribas Masters champion Federer has had a turbulent season on the tour, only winning one tour title and exiting two of the four Grand Slams before the quarter-finals for the first time in a decade. With his strong showings in Basel and Paris over the past couple of weeks, Federer admits that he is far happier playing Djokovic now than a few months ago.
“I prefer playing him now than four months ago. I’m more confident now and I believe again in my chances. But if I had played a few weeks ago or a few months ago, I might have thought that I was not sure. I believe I can win more now. I will try my best against him because he’s again having a very good year.”
The win over Del Potro was his first over a top five ranked competitor in 2013 and today’s performance (despite losing) will certainly provide Federer with some much desired coincidence going into the ATP World Tour Finals.