An always-popular match-up between two former world No. 1’s Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer is scheduled to take place in the semi-final round of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Friday. Both Djokovic and Federer have won the Dubai title a combined nine times, making them the most decorated athletes to compete at the event. Of their 31 professional encounters, the Federer vs Djokovic Head to Head stands at 16-15, and will be looking for his first victory over the Serb since the 2012 Cincinnati Masters. In all cases, this should be an exciting encounter between two of the elite competitors in modern tennis.
Top seed Novak Djokovic has breezed through his opening two rounds of competition, defeating Denis Istomin 6-3, 6-3, and Roberto Bautista Agut 6-1, 6-3, to reach the quarter-final stage, where he would meet world No. 15 Mikhail Youzhny. That match never came to fruition, as the defending champion was granted a walkover after Youzhny withdrew from the event due to an illness. Having now played only two quick matches ahead of his semi-final encounter, with only two more to go, Djokovic is poised to retain the title he won on four previous occasions.
17-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer reached the semi-final stage in Dubai with a straight sets victory over Lukas Rosol. After dropping his opening service game to fall to 0-2, Federer proceeded to win the next six consecutive games to storm to a 6-2 lead in the set. The second set featured much of the same from both competitors, with Federer controlling the action to dispatch of Rosol 6-2, 6-2 to reach his eighth semi-final in Dubai. The win also marked his 40th at the ATP 500 hard court event.
Now looking ahead at his semi-final clash against Djokovic, Federer appears excited for the challenge, “We know each other very well, and we’ve played each other everywhere and [on] all the surfaces, you name it. I think we always play the match-up actually very good, because we play explosive, aggressive tennis, so there is always some shot-making going on. I’m looking forward to the match. One match, best of three sets on a court like this, it’s a bit of ‘let’s see what happens’, anyway. We both know that.”
This marks the 32nd time that Djokovic and Federer step across the net from each other in professional competition. Federer leads the head-to-head series 16-15, yet Djokovic has won their last three encounters, dating back to the 2012 Cincinnati Masters. Djokovic has also won six of their last eight meetings dating back to their classic encounter at the 2011 US Open semi-finals. While Federer is performing far better than he did last season, he has appeared to be quite vulnerable on his own serve, which Djokovic will easily take advantage of. The Swiss No. 2 will show resilience and push the match to a deciding set, yet Djokovic will manage to find a way to secure the victory in the 3rd.
Some more statistics here: Djokovic v Federer H2H and stats
Prediction:Novak Djokovic in Three Sets