The half century of one of tennis’ greatest rivalries will occur tonight at 6:30pm AEST on Rod Laver Arena. The first of the 2020 men’s singles semi-finals will see the 50th match played between Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. The milestone will have even more importance to both men, with the 2 tennis titans facing off to see who will seal a place in the final on Sunday evening. Between them, Fed & Nole account for 13 of the last 16 titles at Melbourne Park. Djokovic accounts for 7 of those titles, with Federer accounting for 6 of them. This potentially points to an even tussle between the 2 remaining heavyweights in men’s tennis, with World no. 1 Rafael Nadal eliminated by Dominic Thiem yesterday.
If you’re in Australia, you can catch all the action on Channel 9, or on your mobile device with the 9NOW App. If you’re overseas you can catch the action on the Sky Go App or on your TV with Eurosport.
Federer has had a much easier draw than Novak, and cruised through the first 2 rounds against Krajinović and Steve Johnson. Trouble came in the form of John Millman in the 3rd round, where Federer somehow escaped from 8-4 down in the 5th set tiebreak to snatch victory from the Aussie workhorse. He handled Fucsovics slightly easier in the 4th round, before somehow winning a remarkable quarter-final clash with Tennys Sandgren. Roger battled soreness and injury during a 5 set epic, in which he saved 7 (Yes, 7) match points to snatch a truly unlikely victory. The aforementioned injury seemed troublesome, and will surely hinder the 38 year old in tonight’s match.
Djokovic has had a slightly tougher draw on paper, but has dispatched each challenger with authority. After winning the lead-in ATP Cup with Serbia, the uber confident Serb recorded straight sets victories against Ito, Nishioka, Schwartzman and Raonic. His only blemish came in a 4 set victory over Jan Lennard Struff in the opening round.
Can Novak Be Stopped?
Before the tournament, I did a full preview of the Men’s and Women’s Singles and predicted who I thought would win. On the women’s side, I picked Ash Barty. She went down in a semi-final earlier today against Sophia Kenin, where she held set points on serve in both sets. On the men’s side, I picked Federer to record an unlikely grand slam victory at the age of 38. I think Ash’s loss could be an omen for things to come tonight. Novak has not lost a semi-final or final at the Australian Open, and I think that trend will continue. Federer has done remarkably well to reach the 2020 semi-finals, but Nole is a man possessed. I’ll take the Serbian in 3 sets.
Prediction: Djokovic in 3