Thursday, 28 January 2016

Novak sweeps Roger aside

The first mens semi final was a dream match up between the world number one Novak Djokovic and the 3rd seed Roger Federer.  9 Aus Open titles between the two of them and 44 times they had met previously for 22 wins each.  14 times they'd played each other at GS level, with 8-6 in Djokovic's favour, including the Wimbledon and US Ooen finals from last year.  Hard to pick a winner but Djokovic by a breath.

Federer surprisingly elected to receive serve after winning the toss and so Djokovic began things.  

An ace for 15-0.  Federer netted a forehand and 30-0.  A backhand down the line winner and 40-0. A return netted and Djokovic led 1-0.  Federer began with a forehand winner.  A Swiss backhand error and then a forehand long and 15-30.  Another backhand in the net saw Federer down two break points, Djokovic pinning him to the back of the court. A Federer forehand wide and Djokovic led 2-0.

A backhand return winner and Federer had Djokovic 0-15. An ace for 15-15.  Continuing to pressure the Swiss backhand the top seed drew another error wide from the third seed and had 30-15. Then a forehand wide from Federer for two game points.  An attacking backhand from Federer was given a down the line forehand pass reply from Djokovic who consolidated the break for 3-0.

Federer was quickly to 40-0 including an ace and two return errors.  He held to love which would have settled him to some degree.  3-1 Djokovic.  The top seed forced an error with a forehand crosscourt and another netted shot from Federer gave Djokovic 30-0. Federer rifled a forehand return winner down the line for 40-15 and 40-30 arrived with a Djokovic backhand finding the net.  Serve was held and Djokovic ahead still with a break 4-1.

0-30 after two Federer forehands long.  A superb overhead from Federer and 15-30.  A wild backhand miss from Federer and two break points.  Federer's forehand found the net and Djokovic led 5-1.
Serving for the set, Djokovic lost the first point with his forehand finding net.  15-15 after Federer's backhand did the same. A scintillating forehand pass from Djokovic and 30-15.  Two set points after a return error.  One saved with a splendid backhand volley from Federer.  A big serve was too much to prevent the error and Djokovic had the set in quick time 6-1.  More than impressive.

Federer had 15-15 after an amazing backhand return winner from Djokovic. A fine drop shot from Federer and 30-30.  Break point saved with an off forehand winner, then another off forehand forced a Djokovic error.  A backhand wide from Djokovic and Federer held serve leading 1-0.  Djokovic passed Federer with a forehand for 15-0.  An ace for 30-0. Another and 40-0.  A backhand winner for 1-1.

Federer forced into forehand error on his forehand side then backhand side and down 0-30.  Djokovic almost unplayable as another forehand pass created three break points.  A Federer forehand long and the break gave Djokovic a 2-1 advantage. Federer forced a backhand error and had 0-15 on the Djokovic serve.  Federer gave an unforced error back and 15-15. More errors from the Swiss racquet and two game points.  40-30 with a smart backhand from Federer at the net. Strong serve and 3-1 Djokovic.

15-0 Federer with good serve.  Great rally and awesome backhand by Djokovic to win it 15-15.  Federer backhand long and 15-30.  Djokovic backhand too much and two break points.  Federer hit the net and down two breaks 1-4.  This was certainly unexpected but underscored how dominant Djokovic is on the men's tour.

Djokovic's backhand winner closed out a quality rally 30-0.  He then missed a forehand 30-15. Federer netted a backhand 40-15.  And another to give the game to Djokovic 5-1.  Double fault from Federer and 0-15.  Djokovic long and 15-15.  Wonderful point and great overhead from Federer for 30-15.  Serve backhand combo and 40-30.  Djokovic backhand pass for deuce.  Djokovic forced a Federer error and set point.  Saved with the second of two smashes.  Another set point with a Serbian forehand down the line winner.  Saved with good serving. Serve eventually held and Djokovic would serve for the set at 5-2.  

Federer forehand wide and 15-0.  Forehand return long 30-0. Backhand long 40-0.  Three set points.  Federer missed again and Djokovic won the set 6-2.  He led 6-1 6-2 and Federer needed something extremely special to turn this around.

Federer began set three with an ace.  A fine Djokovic return drew an error, the Federer committed one of his own. 15-30.  Federer's forehand winner made it 30-30.  Serve held for 1-0.  A great volley from Federer and 15-15 a poor forehand from Switzerland and 30-15.  Backhand wide and 40-15. Backhand winner by Federer matched by Djokovic ace and 1-1.

30-0 Federer after two forehand winners off good serves.  40-15 after serve forcing error.  Forehand winner and game to Federer, leading 2-1. Much more convincing early in this set.  30-0 Djokovic, his serve still solid.  An ace for three game points.  Love game and 2-2. 

30-0 Federer whose first serve % was lifting.  Djokovic still pressing and 30-30 with Federer errors.  An exquisite forehand crosscourt pass gave a break point to Djokovic.  Saved well with an overhead winner by Federer after two clutch volleys.  Swiss forehand winner and game point.  Serve held and Federer ahead 3-2.

15-0 Djokovic after Federer netted.  Double fault and 15-15, Federer circling.  A backhand down the line forced an error from Djokovic.  Federer attacking the net with a series of volleys won the point after Djokovic eventually fell into error.  Two break points for Federer, his first for the night.  A big serve down the middle forced an error and one break point saved.  A Federer forehand long and deuce.  A backhand out of court by Djokovic and another break point.  Saved with an errant Swiss forehand.  Game point with a netted forehand from Federer.  Deuce after a wicked Federer drop shot.  Ace for game point.  A forehand return surprised Djokovic into error and deuce.  Big serve and game point once more.  A stunning backhand return winner and deuce.  An amazing run from Federer to reach a Djokovic drop shot and hit a forehand crosscourt winner.  Break point again.  Federer's backhand hammered Djokovic into an error and the break finally came. The third seed led 4-2.

15-15 with a Federer down the line forehand winner.  15-30 with a Federer forehand long.  Ace from Federer for 30-30.  Forehand clean winner down the line for 40-30.  Serve held and Federer had 5-2 lead.  Djokovic 15-0 as he served to stay in the set.  Federer backhand winner and 15-15.  Ace for Djokovic and 40-15.  5-3 Federer and serving to rake it to a fourth set.

Backhand winner by Federer and 15-0.  Backhand netted off the same racquet 15-15. Return netted and 30-15.  Backhand winner for Djokovic 30-30.  Return long and set point.  Forehand crosscourt forcing error and deuce.  Forehand down the line winner from Federer.  Another set point. Saved by Swiss error.  Timely big serve and another set point. The set was Federer's 6-3 and the match was alive.

Djokovic served first in the fourth set.  A net cord won Federer the opening point. 0-30 with Djokovic hitting the net.  A backhand from Federer found the net and 15-30.  A Federer forehand also netted for 30-30.  A forehand return failed the net test and game point for Djokovic.  He held for 1-0.  Federer served and 15-15 became 30-15 after an ace. 30-30 after Federer hit the net with a backhand.  Ace for game point. Federer held for 1-1.

Djokovic 15-0 after another effective serve.  30-15 with a Djokovic backhand pushed wide.  Comfortable hold and 2-1 for Djokovic. Ace for Federer 15-0.  A great forehand crosscourt winner by Federer and 30-0.  Serve held to love and 2-2.

Djokovic hit a forehand wide and had 15-15 on his serve.  Picking on Federer's backhand again, the error was drawn and although he was taken to 40-30, an ace sealed the game and Djokovic led 3-2.  A backhand winner from Djokovic had Federer at 0-15.  Good serving made it 30-15.  A brilliant return levelled it at 30-30 before a long shot gave Federer game point.  Serve held and 3-3.

Djokovic hit long and 15-15 on his serve.  A sharp Serbian forehand volley and 30-15.  Good serving and game to Djokovic for a 4-3 advantage.  Federer served and the first point was won with a fantastic forehand crosscourt pass from Djokovic for 0-15.  A backhand crosscourt winner was dazzling from the world's best as he stepped it up in a real attempt to grab a break. 0-30.  A return netted on second serve and 15-30.  Federer won an unbelievable point with all sorts of scrambling finished off with a spectacular backhand down the line winner and 30-30.  A lucky net cord for Djokovic helped him pass Federer at the net with a forehand and create a break point.  A brutal off forehand return was all too much for Federer and the break was complete.  

Djokovic was ahead 5-3 and about to serve for a place in his sixth Aus Ooen final.

A Federer return long and 15-0.  Another forehand long 30-0.  A netted return and three match points.  A backhand from Federer hitting the net and Djokovic won in four sets 6-1 6-2 3-6 6-3.

Djokovic was dominant and it looked likely that he may embarass the great Federer.  Thankfully Roger was able to lift his game enough to grab a set, even with Novak playing at such a level.   It would be a foolish person to believe that anyone could prevent the top seed winning a sixth title if he repeated this type of tennis on Sunday. 

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