Wow! What great quarterfinal matches today, it was spectacular tennis! Both Federer and Djokovic struggled against their opponents, though somehow came up with the wins. It was truly some of the best matches of the tournaments so far.
Federer came back from two sets down against Juan Martin Del Potro, where it seemed that the Argentine came out with guns blazing. Delpo took the first two sets with authority, then his left knee began to visibly give him some trouble when moving. The fourth set it was clear that the Tower of Tandil was folding, losing by way of a bagel. Federer came out on top with the match 6-3 in the fifth. Simply amazing.
Djokovic was in front early on, taking the first set; a valiant Tsonga hit the pedal to the metal and took the next two sets. Tsonga, had the French crowd behind him, pushing him to hit winners and big shots, he even had a handful of match points against the world #1, unfortunately he could not convert. Djokovic recovered from his temporary mental lapse, and came back storming through the fifth set, there was nothing Tsonga could do to stop the Serbian superstar. Nole finished him off 6-1 for a chance at Roger Federer in the semifinals.
Looking ahead, the predictions for the semifinal between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer are tough, there are plenty of factors and with a little bit of luck, I just might get my predictions right for a second time. This is one of those predictions that are so hard to call, both Federer and Djokovic are so good that it makes it nearly impossible to pick a winner. I’ll try my best.
Novak Djokovic  vs. Roger Federer : The two have met a total of 25 times in their professional careers, with Federer winning 14 of the meetings. However, we have witness Djokovic (version 2.0) totally dominate the field for the last year and a half, so there is much to consider in this match up. Their last meeting was only a couple of weeks ago in Rome; Novak and Roger met in the semifinals (fitting right?), where Djokovic took the match 6-2, 7-6. Their last meeting at Roland Garros also happened to be in the semifinals, where the Swiss handed Nole one of his two losses in 2011; Federer did lose to Nadal in the final of 2011. It’s going to be a different story come Thursday, both players are going to have to put in some serious work to come out on top.
Watching both matches today, I saw how vulnerable Djokovic was on extended rallies and being moved side to side. I have a feeling that Nole was somewhat overwhelmed with the French crowd pushing their hometown hero that caused him to slip in sets 1, 2, and part of 3. Nole did his usual barking at his box on bonehead points that he lost, easy put aways and the like. He’s going to have to stay mentally tough when he gets behind against Federer; we witnessed it today, he was behind, down match points, but got it together and started playing smarter tennis.
Against Federer, Djokovic will probably hit exclusively to Federer’s backhand, his weaker side, and will need to move in after stretching Roger off balance. Nole has the quickness to execute, though he’s going to have to keep his emotions in check, this would be the ultimate payback for last year. Djokovic better get some rest, I have a feeling this will be a long battle of a match.
For Federer, beating Novak is not going to be a walk in the park, he too will have to put in some serious effort. One of the keys to beating the Serbian is to not engage in long rallies! We saw it against Del Potro, the longer the points went on (early in the match), the less his chances of winning the point was. On serve, Federer will have to do his best to pick his spots wisely, trying to pull Djokovic off the court and put away the ball to the empty court. Unfortunately for Federer, Djokovic is extremely fit and flexible, so it’s going to be additionally hard for him to hit where Novak is not.
Furthermore, Roger should attack the net, he is a gifted volleyer and should use that as a tool to earn some quick points. It’s hard to say if Federer should hit to one wing more than the other, as Djokovic’s forehand and backhand are both equally powerful and because of his speed and flexibility, it’s going to be hard to get Nole to not strike the ball hard and clean. If anything, Federer should focus on hitting behind Djokovic as much as possible as well as mixing up pace and spins.
It’s just so hard to predict the winner between these two, my heart tells me Federer but my head tells me Djokovic, and the statistics tell me the Serb. I’m going to go with my heart and predict that Roger will win the semifinal match against Novak Djokovic, though it’s not going to be easy. Roger has a certain calmness to him when he’s playing where Nole is higher-strung and let’s things get to him. Federer is going to have to play quickly too, between his service points as well as moving to the net to attack weak passing shots. I believe the semifinal match will go 5 sets, probably heavily unevenly (6-3, 4-6, 6-1, 2-6,6-0), it’s not going to be close and it probably won’t be pretty, but Roger will make his mark when he needs to and will reach the finals.