Federer stuns, shatters streak

2011-06-03 22:05

Paris - Roger Federer brought Novak Djokovic's 43-match winning run to a sensational end Friday as the Swiss legend reached a fifth French Open final and a fourth Paris title showdown with five-time champion Rafael Nadal.

Federer, the 2009 winner, stunned the world number two Serb 7-6 (7/5), 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7/5), a victory which not only shattered Djokovic's hopes of making a first Roland Garros final, but also stalled his bid to take over as world number one.

World number three Federer, whose last Grand Slam final had been at the 2010 Australian Open where he wrapped up a 16th major title, sealed a memorable win with his 18th ace in a tie which finished at 2135 (1935GMT) in gathering gloom.

Having reached his sixth Roland Garros semi-final playing a carefree brand of no-pressure tennis, he also left Djokovic one win short of matching John McEnroe's 1984 record of a 42-match unbeaten start to a season.

In a rollercoaster of a first set, Djokovic was surprisingly broken in the first game, distracted by the commotion in the crowd behind him caused when a spectator collapsed.

But the Serb was back on level terms for 1-1 with a break back before fighting off four break points on his next serve to hold for 2-1.

A huge inside-out backhand gave Djokovic another break for a 4-2 lead but Federer, with a roar of emotional support behind him, stormed back, retrieving the break and holding to love for 4-4.

Federer saved two set points in the 11th game before Djokovic, furious at being handed a time violation by French umpire Damien Dumusois, got the better of a gruelling 27-shot rally to hold and lead 6-5.

The Swiss, who had converted just two of 10 break points in the opener, held to send the set into a tiebreak which he claimed when Djokovic netted a forehand after 70 minutes on court.

Federer fought off two break points in the first game of the second set and broke Djokovic to lead 3-1 when the Serb, clearly unsettled and distinctly under par, ballooned a forehand long.

A rattled Djokovic soon trailed 4-1 and then needed to fight off four break points in the sixth game to keep his campaign on track before Federer, nerveless on serve, stretched his advantage to 5-2.

The world number two was close to breaking point and fought off five set points in the eighth game.

But the 29-year-old Federer was soon two sets to love ahead when a weary Djokovic netted.

Under siege, Djokovic had given up a further 12 break points in the second set with Federer crucially converting the only one he needed to do in the fourth game.

However, showing the fight which has brought him seven titles in 2011, Djokovic carved out the only break of the third set in the second game on his way to cutting the deficit.

Serve dominated in the fourth set as the sky over Paris became increasingly darker, before Djokovic unleashed a brutal service return to break for a 5-4 lead.

In an enthralling conclusion, Federer hit back for 5-5 and fought off two break points to nip ahead at 6-5 before Djokovic held for a tie break.

The Serb saved two match points but was powerless to keep out the Swiss star's 18th ace which sealed the semi-final after 3hr and 39mins of enthralling action.


  • Justme - 2011-06-03 22:23

    What a game, normally do not watch tennis, this game was trilling !!

  • Jack Turner - 2011-06-03 22:24

    The King is alive..." Long Live The King"....

      Bob - 2011-06-03 23:32


  • sharpeijane - 2011-06-03 22:27

    Absolutely fabulous. Go Roger! It's not over yet. We love u in SA.

  • Andrew Griffiths - 2011-06-03 22:28

    Federer is the Daddy!

  • Coenie - 2011-06-03 22:36


  • Jayjayc - 2011-06-03 22:57

    Another Rodger, Rafa final but Rafa does have something over Federer. One is that Federer has never beaten Rafa on clay in a grand slam final. While Nadal has beaten Federer on his favourite service which is grass. So Nadal does have Physcological advantage over Federer.

      steve - 2011-06-03 23:08

      As much as I think Rafa is great, his stumbling block is Novak, well done Roger your touch is still one of the best.

      Bratt - 2011-06-04 14:09

      I would not be overly upset if Federer beat Nadal in the final tomorrow. But that is probably not going to happen. Nadal over 5 sets on a clay court is a tought ask. Federer probably saved Nadal crown yesterday. Djokovic would have probably beat him in the final. Having said that, Nadal's game is the weakest it has ever been, so this is Federer's best chance of claiming a proper win at the French Open.

  • Black Falcon - 2011-06-04 05:37

    Can't stand that arrogant Djokovic. Well done to the greatest player ever, the Fed Express. This one and Wimbledon is yours.

  • zweli81 - 2011-06-04 06:41

    This is conclusive proof that there is still a couple of grand slams left in the old master and a master he is. the greastest ever, now go and win the damn thing against the best ever on clay to erase any doubts.

  • Abi - 2011-06-04 12:07

    Thank you Roger, cause everyone else but me believed in you. Almost had a fight with my friend cause of my loyalty. GREAT! Nothing beats experience. Good luck for the final!

      Bratt - 2011-06-04 14:06

      ' cause everyone else but me believed in you...' Who needs enemies with fans like these...

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