Streak Interrupted

By Jane Voigt

Roger Federer has a way of getting in the way of Novak Djokovic.

Roger Federer, Western & Southern Financial Open, August 2014, during his semifinal win over Milos Raonic. Photo credit Pablo Sanfrancisco

In 2011, the Swiss star ended the Serbian’s 41-0 winning streak at the semifinals of Roland Garros, interrupting Djokovic’s chance to win the only slam not in his resume. Today, Federer shattered Novak’s 28-0 winning streak in China. Djokovic was attempting to win Shanghai for the third straight year. 

As a result, Federer has the chance to win his first-ever Shanghai Masters 1000 title tomorrow against Frenchman Gilles Simon.

Today’s victory by Federer was nothing less than a rout, though the score — 64 64 — seemed mundane.

“It was definitely one of the best matches he has played against me, that’ for sure,” Djokovic told the ATP, after his loss. “He’s playing as good as ever.”

Federer faced only one break point and created nine more for Djokovic to handle, which he did, saving eight. And although Djokovic won 54% of points on his second serve, Federer upped him at 61%. Tennis Channel announced early in the match that Federer, when winning more than 50% of his second serve points, has an 80% or better chance of winning against Djokovic. This was one statistic that panned out. 

Federer’s versatility was his key to final’s kingdom.

His out-wide serves set up fluid answers off weak returns from the best-returner in the game. His cross-court forehand, a universally feared shot that can go bonkers, was steady whether hit with over-spin, under-spin, or flat. The flat short cross-court chuckers stunned Djokovic while thousands of fans roared with approval. He won 20 points off 35 net approaches, the last a stick backhand volley on match point followed by a fierce, “Come on.” 

Federer captured both worlds — the world of match plans and the world of match execution — at the apex whether off balance, in balance, sliding, on solid footing, hopping, or blocking shots. It was a show. And, that level of entertainment is difficult to keep it up against Novak Djokovic who did not, did not, give up. 

Federer faces Simon in the Frenchman’s second-ever Masters 1000 final. Although Simon has given Federer trouble in past matches, there is a solid consensus that Roger will win the title. 

“I’m not going to come into the match and play terrible,” the ATP reported Federer saying. “It just won’t happen – not in the finals, not against Simon. That’s the confidence I have right now.”

This was Federer’s 52nd ATP Tour Masters 1000 semifinal and his 114th Masters 1000 tournament. He’s pushing for his 23rd title. 

Bryan Brothers Seek Golden History
Bob and Mike Bryan will try to become the first team to win a Career Golden Masters tomorrow. If they defeat Julien Benneteau and Edouard Roger-Vasselin, the twins will have won all nine of the current Masters 1000 tournament doubles titles. It would also be their first title from Shanghai. They hold a total 30 Master 1000 titles.




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