World No. 2 Novak Djokovic and Swiss star Roger Federer will meet for the third time this season on Saturday afternoon in the semi-final round of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters. Both competitors hold victories over each other in 2014, with this contest acting as a rubber match. Of their 33 professional encounters, the Federer vs Djokovic Head to Head stands at 17-16.
Djokovic had to rally from a set down to defeat Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 4-6, 6-3, 6-1. It was a tough battle at times for the Serb, who quickly fell 1-4 in the opening set before losing it 6-4. While the first six games of the second set were competitive, Djokovic would later secure a decisive break and snatch the set 6-3 to send the match to a decider, where he would dominate Garcia-Lopez.
“I changed the tactics in the middle of the second set and I managed to regroup and find the right approach,” said Djokovic. “After that it was a great performance.”
Next for Djokovic is a third match-up this season against Federer, who has not only been playing some fantastic tennis this season, but also started his clay court season in fantastic fashion.
“[Federer] has been playing really good tennis in the last couple of months… much better than he did all of last season,” said Djokovic. “I’m going to have to be on top of my game.”
- Djokovic is bidding to win his fifth ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title in a row.
- He is the only player not named Roger Federer to win the Indian Wells-Miami double twice in his career.
Since arriving on clay, Federer has been alarmingly good, but was met with a difficult task on Friday afternoon when he stepped across the court from France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. The Frenchman outplayed Federer for the majority of the opening set, eventually closing it out 6-2. Tsonga would have opportunities in the second set, yet the Swiss No. 2 kept the match on level terms, eventually forcing a tiebreaker. He would lead 5-2 but would surrender the following four points to sit at 6-6. From there, Federer turned up the heat and stole the set by winning the final two points.
It appeared as if the lose of the second set had demotivated Tsonga, as the Frenchman would drop the next five games before scrambling to save the potential bagel and allow Federer to close out the match 2-6, 7-6, 6-1.
“The confidence is there. I played well from the baseline. My serve was consistent. I’m very happy that I have this foundation for my game. Sometimes you feel you have no foundation. But having it helped me to remain very calm during the whole match. I really believed that eventually I was going to come through. It’s not possible to go through that many break points. I was playing good enough to make the break and then serve my way home. That’s exactly kind of what happened.”
- It was Federer’s 950th tour-level win.
- Federer is through to his 50th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 semi-final.
This marks the 34th time these two elite competitors will cross paths on the professional tour. Federer leads the series 17-16 and while he lost their most recent battle at Indian Wells, he did beat Djokovic a month earlier in Dubai. The Swiss No. 2 has never lifted the title in Monte Carlo and will be keen on overcoming the defending champion to edge closer to the title. They are 3-3 on clay and have not met on this surface since 2012.
Prediction: Novak Djokovic in Three Sets