In what should be the match that decides the order in which these two qualify from the Stan Smith group, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer face off for 43rd time in their careers with the head to head currently tied at 21 apiece.
After crushing Kei Nishikori 6-1 6-1 in his opening match, Djokovic is now on a 23 match winning streak dating back to the first round of the US Open. He has lost just four sets in that time and only one in the best of three format, against Stanislas Wawrinka in Paris a fortnight ago.
Djokovic’s 2011 was out of this world and it wasn’t expected that Djokovic would hit that level but he is currently at 79-5 in 2015 compared to the 70-6 he posted 4 years ago. The only player with multiple victories over Djokovic this year is Federer with wins in Dubai and Cincinnati although he is 2-4 in total on the year.
Federer was impressive against Tomas Berdych, winning 86% on first serve, but the return of serve from Djokovic remains on another level and he will have to work much harder for points on this slow court, a game that is likely to favour Djokovic especially as time goes on.
It feels like this is just a preview of Sunday’s final matchup in which Djokovic will look to cap off his stunning season. While Federer has proven he can live with Djokovic over best of three matches, it certainly feels like Djokovic is on another level now and it would be a major shock to see him lose any time soon.
Prediction – Djokovic in straight sets