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The Early Lead
Posted at 03:56 PM ET, 06/03/2011

Roger Federer snaps Novak Djokovic’s streak to reach French Open final

UPDATE: Roger Federer got the best of Novak Djokovic in a four set semifinal victory Friday (7-6, 6-3, 3-6, 7-6) to halt the Serbian’s 41-match winning streak to start 2011 and set up another Grand Slam final matchup with Rafael Nadal.

After taking the first set in a tiebreaker, Federer rode an early break to take the second set 6-3. But Djokovic battled back in the third, breaking Federer and capturing momentum with a 6-3 win. Like the first set, the fourth went all the way to the tiebreaker after both men were broken once. Djokovic again found himself in an early hole but after climbing back to a 6-5 deficit, watched Federer’s 18th ace of the night go wizzing past him to seal his fate.
(JACQUES DEMARTHON - AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

So once again it will be a Nadal-Federer major final Sunday at Roland Garros. In four previous matches in Paris — three of them in the final — Nadal is a perfect 4-0 and has won 12 of 15 sets. The two last met in the 2008 final, an alarmingly one-sided 6-1, 6-3, 6-0 victory for the Spaniard.

Here’s a quick head to head breakdown of the 22 matches played between the two players who have dominated the sport over the past eight years.

Check out a full French Open photo gallery with shots from both of Friday’s men’s semifinals.

MATCH PREVIEW

When Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer meet on the red clay of Roland Garros in Friday’s semifinal matchup at the French Open, it will be nothing short of huge for tennis fans around the world — so huge, in fact, that it forced NBC make the late decision to air the match live (gasp!) on the East Coast. Even the master of Roland Garros himself is pumped up to watch his greatest foes battle it out for a spot in the final.

Much more than a matchup with Rafael Nadal in the tournament final is on the line today. Djokovic, who is currently riding one of the most scorching hot streaks in tennis history, can tie John McEnroe’s record of 42 consecutive wins to start a season. The Serbian and current No. 2 player in the world has already won seven titles in 2011 including the Australian Open. The Djoker has never reached a French Open final, losing in the semis in 2007 and 2008 — both to Nadal in straight sets.

Federer, meanwhile, is looking to reach his first major final since the 2010 Australian Open, where he claimed his 16th Grand Slam title.

NBC had initially planned to air the match via tape delay or not at all, but tennis nation — in this case represented by Sirius satellite radio host Chris “Mad Dog” Russo — would have none of it.

think about this for a second, its so ridiculous, fed/djokovic is going to be in a classic 5th set and well be seeing nadal from 8 hours agoless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

If you’re trapped in a cubicle with no TV in sight, NBC is also streaming the match live (quel surprise!). You can also follow along on our live scoreboard and be sure to check out our French Open photo gallery for the latest shots of wicked forehands, nifty drop shots and blistering service aces.

A quick tale of the tape:

• Federer leads the all-time series 13-8, but Djokovic has won all three 2011 matchups, all on hard court

• The two have only played three times on clay, and never on the red clay at Roland Garros. Federer won matches at the ATP Masters Series in Monte Carlo in 2006 and 2008 while Djokovic won their most recent matchup on clay in the semifinals of the 2009 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 in Rome.

• Federer has a 67-25 edge in career titles won but Djokovic has seven to Fed’s one in 2011.

And while all the buzz on semifinal Friday surrounds this matchup, there’s also that other guy who advanced to Sunday’s final with a straight sets victory over Andy Murray earlier today. That other guy being the one with five French Open titles in the last six years who absolutely owns the red clay and was awarded the top seed in the tournament draw for good reason. What was his name again?
(REGIS DUVIGNAU - REUTERS)

By  |  03:56 PM ET, 06/03/2011

Tags:  Tennis

 
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