Novak & Roger: The Rivalry
by ATP Staff|
Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer faced off for the 29th time in the title match of the 2012 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. It was their fifth meeting of the season and the second time they had clashed at the year-end championships.
Federer leads Djokovic 16-13 in the FedEx ATP Head 2 Head, though with victory at The O2, Djokovic drew level in final meetings, 4-4. It was only the fourth time (since 1970) that the No. 1 and No. 2 players in the South African Airways ATP Rankings had competed in the final of the season-ending championships..
Below is a history of the pair's 29 matches, beginning with their meeting at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in November 2012.
2012 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals final, London, indoor hard, Djokovic d. Federer 76(6) 75
It was a match that could just have easily seen Federer the victor in straight sets. The Swiss, who was hunting for a seventh title at the year-end championships, led by a service break in both sets and had two chances to level the match when he led 5-4, 40/15 in the second set. Djokovic would not be cowed. The Serb screamed in celebration as he levelled at 5-5 after Federer struck a forehand long and went onto win the final two games of the match to claim a dramatic victory in two hours and 14 minutes. The 25 year old fired a backhand pass down the line on match point and pumped his chest as a capacity 17,800 spectators erupted in applause. Read Match Report
2012 Western & Southern Open final, ATP World Tour Masters 1000, hard, Federer d. Djokovic 60 76(7)
Neither player had dropped serve entering the match, but Roger Federer broke Novak Djokovic in the opening game and stormed to a one-set lead in just 20 minutes - his first bagel set in 28 meetings with the Serbian (82 sets). The 25-year-old Serbian settled into the second set to force a tie-break, and held set point at 7-6, but Federer wiped it away with an aggressive tactic at the net and cracked back-to-back forehand winners to claim victory in 80 minutes. With the victory, Federer tied Rafael Nadal for the most ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crowns with 21 and became the first player in the Open Era to win five Cincinnati trophies. Read Match Report
2012 Wimbledon Semi-final, Grand Slam, London, grass, Federer d. Djokovic 63 36 64 63
Under a closed roof, Roger Federer broke serve in the sixth game, and went onto clinch the 24-minute first set having committed just two unforced errors. Djokovic raised his game with tennis of the highest quality to seal the 30-minute second set. The temperature gauge increased at 2-3, in the third set, when Djokovic weathered a storm, winning 23-and-25-stroke rallies in a dramatic eight-minute game. Federer survived his own wobble, but was able to win the set. The Swiss maintained his dominance in the fourth set, opening up a 3-0 lead, to book a place in his 24th major championship final (16-7 overall). It also gave Federer a shot at reclaiming the World No. 1 ranking should he win his eighth Wimbledon final. Read Match Report
2012 Roland Garros Semi-final, Grand Slam, Paris, clay, Djokovic d. Federer 64 75 63
Novak Djokovic gained a shot at history by reaching his first Roland Garros final. In a match played in overcast and often windy conditions, the pair exchanged service breaks midway through the first set, before Djokovic began to unpick Federer's aggressive game plan. Djokovic sealed the 34-minute first set, having committed just three unforced errors. Federer raced into a 3-0 second-set lead, but later on he failed to convert three break point opportunities for a 5-2 lead. Federer served for the set at 5-4, but Djokovic won three straight games. Federer won 14 of his 35 service points in the 53-minute set. Federer's first serve percentage dropped dramatically in the third set. Djokovic broke for 4-2 and went onto hit an unreturned serve to complete victory in two hours and five minutes. It gave the top seed an opportunity to become the first player since Rod Laver in 1969 to hold all four major titles. Read Match Report
2012 Internazionali BNL d'Italia Semi-final, ATP World Tour Masters 1000, Rome, clay, Djokovic d. Federer 62 76(4)
Novak Djokovic controlled the majority of the clash, until Roger Federer fought back at 2-6, 4-5, 0/30. The Swiss denied Djokovic his first opportunity to close out the match, converting his only service break to level the second set at 5-5 after saving a match point. But Djokovic regained his composure in the ensuing tie-break, capitalising on an early mini-break advantage to seal the final four victory in one hour and 40 minutes. “Here he was winning convincingly in all his matches, so I knew he was in good form,” said Djokovic. “I needed to step in the match, believing I could win. I played really good from the beginning to the end.” Read Match Report | Watch Highlights
2011 US Open Semi-final, Grand Slam, New York, hard, Djokovic d. Federer 67(7) 46 63 62 75
A year earlier the pair had contested a thrilling semi-final at the US Open, which saw Novak Djokovic save two match points to deny Roger Federer a place in his sixth successive final in New York. If possible, their 24th contest was even better. Federer was too strong for his Serbian opponent in the early stages, opening up a commanding two-set lead after one hour and 51 minutes. Djokovic began his comeback with a service break at the start of the third set and again broke down the Swiss’ defences in the first game of the fourth set. Largely impenetrable on serve, Djokovic broke Federer once more to force a decider. Federer regained his composure to break Djokovic’s serve in the eighth game of the fifth set and was on the brink of victory when he led 5-3, 40/15. He was unable to convert either of his match points, though, and Djokovic reeled off the final four games to complete a dramatic comeback. "It was a very similar situation to last year," acknowledged Djokovic. "I had to take my chances. I was very close to being on my way back home. It was an incredible last two games." It was the second time in his career that Djokovic had won from two sets down, and it was just the second time that Federer had surrendered a two-set lead in a Grand Slam match – the first occasioning just two months earlier against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the Wimbledon quarter-finals. Read Match Report
2011 Roland Garros Semi-final, Grand Slam, Paris, clay, Federer d. Djokovic 76(5) 63 36 76(5)
Roger Federer snapped a three-match losing run against Novak Djokovic and ended the Serb’s remarkable 2011 winning streak at 41 matches as he prevailed in their Roland Garros semi-final clash. The standard of tennis was exceptional in the 70-minute first set, which Federer won in a tie-break after saving two set points at 4-5. The Swiss then swiftly opened up a 4-1 advantage in the second set as he took a commanding lead in the encounter. Djokovic capitalised on a slight dip in Federer’s standard at the start of the third set and went up 3-0 as he attempted to become the first player in 175 attempts to beat Federer from two sets down in a Grand Slam match. Having closed out the 37-minute third set, Djokovic served for the fourth set at 5-4, but Federer clawed his way back to force a tie-break. Djokovic cancelled out Federer's early advantage in the tie-break, but from 3-3, Federer won three straight points including two aces. Djokovic saved two match points, but Federer closed out victory with his 18th ace of the match at 9:37 p.m. local time. "I really wanted to make it as physical as possible, which I was able to make happen," Federer said. "I was really happy with the way I played. I thought it was a great match from both sides." Read Match Report
2011 BNP Paribas Open Semi-final, ATP World Tour Masters 1000, Indian Wells, hard, Djokovic d. Federer 63 36 62
The World No. 2 ranking was on the line when Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer squared off in the BNP Paribas Open semi-finals. After dropping serve twice to lose the second set – marking just the fourth set he had lost since December (45-4 in sets) – Djokovic opened the third with a break of serve. He double-faulted on triple break point chance for Federer to concede the lead, 2-2, but the Swiss returned the favour in the next game. Federer lost 11 straight points from up 40/15 in the fifth game, including a double-fault on break point, and Djokovic secured one more break before serving out the match. "It was a very close match, so up to the last point you really couldn't say who's gonna take the win out of today's match," said Djokovic. "A lot of emotions. You could feel the intensity and I guess the pressure with both of us." It was his third successive victory over Federer and guaranteed him the No. 2 spot in the South African Airways 2011 ATP Rankings. Read Match Report | Watch Highlights
2011 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships Final, ATP World Tour 500, Dubai, hard, Djokovic d. Federer 63 63
Novak Djokovic went into his 21st clash with Roger Federer in the Dubai final with the confidence of having beaten the Swiss just over four weeks earlier in the semi-finals of the Australian Open. The Serb quickly signalled his intent by breaking Federer’s serve in the third game of the match. Sublime on serve throughout the opener, Djokovic relinquished just four points, and the pressure told on Federer as he succumbed again in the ninth game. Federer stepped up and produced tighter tennis in the second set and was rewarded with a break of serve in the third game. However, the Swiss was unable to maintain his lead as Djokovic levelled in the sixth game. From there Djokovic quickly pulled away as Federer again lapsed into inconsistency on the backhand wing. A mistake from the Swiss cost him his serve in the eighth game and Djokovic clinched victory in 71 minutes. Victory saw Djokovic crowned Dubai champion for the third year in a row. "This match has probably been one of the best that I played this year," said Djokovic. "To be able to win against Roger in straight sets as I did tonight is incredible, but I want to keep on going." Read Match Report | Watch Highlights
2011 Australian Open Semi-final, Grand Slam, Melbourne, hard, Djokovic d. Federer 76(3) 75 64
After suffering a resounding defeat at Roger Federer’s hands in their last meeting at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, Novak Djokovic came out with a point to prove when the pair contested the Australian Open semi-finals two months later. With neither player able to engineer a breakthrough in the first set, Djokovic took control of the tie-break, battering Federer into submission with his powerful baseline play. Breaks were exchanged early in the second set before Federer raised his level to establish a 5-2 lead. The Swiss was unable to serve out the set, though, and was made to rue his missed opportunity as Djokovic reeled off five straight games for a two-set lead. Federer rallied from an early break deficit in the third set, but the comeback went no further as Djokovic won the final two games from 4-4 to claim victory in three hours. "Overall, it was a great performance," said Djokovic. "I'm very happy with the way I played. I knew that I had to use my chances." Djokovic had also defeated Federer in straight sets in the 2008 Australian Open semi-finals, which was the last time Federer had lost a Grand Slam match on hard court in straight sets. Read Match Report
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