Djokovic v Federer: Greatest matches
Ahead of their Wimbledon final, our Andy Schooler looks back at some of the best Novak Djokovic v Roger Federer matches.
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US Open, 2009, SF (outdoor hard) - Federer 7-6 7-5 7-5
This isn't the greatest match Federer and Djokovic have ever produced but it is one of the most memorable. The reason being it featured one of the all-time great shots by the Swiss maestro. Having played some superb tennis to fend off a fine effort from his opponent, Federer hit a simply stunning through-the-legs winner - a hot dog, 'tweener, call it what you like - to bring up match points. Djokovic grinned wryly. What else could he do against such brilliance? Federer wrapped up victory moments later and then described his shot as "the greatest I ever hit in my life". It was hard to argue - or indeed think of a shot by anyone else which had been better.
US Open, 2010, SF (outdoor hard) - Djokovic 5-7 6-1 5-7 6-2 7-5
The Serb won a see-saw encounter in New York to deny Federer what would have been a seventh successive final appearance at Flushing Meadows. Djokovic did so by saving two match points in the final set, coming from 15-40 down to level with some nerveless play. Federer had a chance to break back and force a deciding tie-break but failed to do so and Djokovic was left celebrating a win he had waited a long time for - Federer had beaten him in the tournament in each of the three previous years. "To be honest I was just closing my eyes and hitting forehands as fast as I can on the match points," said Djokovic afterwards. "If it goes in, it goes in. If it goes out, you know, another loss to Federer in the US Open. I managed to come back. I was very lucky."
US Open, 2011, SF (outdoor hard) - Djokovic 6-7 4-6 6-3 6-2 7-5
Talk about history repeating itself. Twelve months on from their thriller in New York, Djokovic again saved two match points - this time with Federer serving - with his go-for-broke, nothing-to-lose attitude reaping dividends once more. Having trailed by two sets to love, the Serb had stormed back into the match only to fall a break down in the decider as Federer found a second wind. But with Federer serving for the match at 40-15 it all went wrong. The match is best remembered for the first of those match points,, Djokovic unleashing on a forehand return which he powered cross-court for a clean winner. He raised his arms in celebration, whipping the crowd into a frenzy. The second match point was saved too and the tide had turned. Minutes later he was again celebrating a remarkable victory.
Head to head
Overall: Federer 18-16
On grass: Federer 1-0
At Wimbledon: Federer 1-0
In Grand Slams: Federer 6-5
In finals: Djokovic 5-4
French Open, 2011, SF (outdoor clay) - Federer 7-6 6-3 3-6 7-6
Djokovic came into this match - played in early June - unbeaten for the season. His remarkable winning run stood as 43 and few expected it to end at the hands of Federer, who was beginning to be labelled yesterday's man. But Federer rolled back the years. Not only did he fend off Djokovic with a fine serving display but, more surprisingly, he more than held his own from the back of the court. Federer opened a two-set lead but Djokovic launched his fightback by taking the third. He also served to level the match in the fourth only for Federer to retrieve the break. With the light fading, Federer knew he had to win ensuing the tie-break or come back tomorrow, but take it he did, celebrating by wagging a single finger in the air - an action most saw as a suggestion that he should still be considered the world's best player.
Wimbledon, 2012, SF (indoor grass) - Federer 6-3 3-6 6-4 6-3
In a match played under the Centre Court roof, Federer sprang an upset with victory over the defending champion. The doubters very much thought the Swiss' days of winning Grand Slam titles were over but he produced some of his best tennis to reach a record eighth final in SW19. The indoor conditions favoured Federer, who served well throughout and only lost his serve once. He grabbed the third set to take control - "it was key to the match" he later said - and an early break in the fourth meant Djokovic's race was all but run. Federer went on to win his 17th Grand Slam title with victory over Andy Murray two days later.