Divine Intervention? Djokovic, Federer Get Out Of Jail Winning 5-Set Thrillers At French Open
by Sean Randall | June 5th, 2012, 3:45 pm

What an exhausting yet exhilarating morning/afternoon of tennis from Roland Garros. After a rocky Sunday for both Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, things got even worse today with both guys standing on the brink of certain elimination. But then, perhaps, with the weather turning greyer the Tennis Gods smiled…

Djokovic, who shockingly fell behind two sets a round earlier to light weight Andreas Seppi, came out today with that needed spark and urgency racing out to a set and a break lead, taking JW Tsonga and the crowd virtually out of the match. But Tsonga recovered, got the break back and eventually took the second and then stunningly the third to lead 2-1.

In the fourth, things get about a bleak as they could get for Novak’s bid for a Djoker Slam. All told Tsonga held four match points in that fourth set but Djokovic squashed all of them!

Tsonga, who stated yesterday the pressure would be on Novak, simply couldn’t handle the pressure moments of scoring arguably the biggest win of his life – beating a world No. 1 on Chatrier. And just as he did down two matchpoints to Federer at Flushing, Djokovic met the challenge head on, embraced the pressure and the Serb breezed in the fifth to a 6-1, 5-7, 5-7, 7-6(6), 6-1 in 4-hours, 5-minutes.

While that drama was playing out on Chatrier, on Lenglen Federer was again fighting for his French Open life. A round earlier upstart David Goffin was up a set and two points from a second before Federer finally gained control. Today, Del Potro took the first and in a scintillating tiebreak did Goffin one better by snatching the second.

Del Potro was up two sets against a Federer who was still trying to win with his “B” game. The Swiss looked all but out of it against the Argentine who, after playing poorly himself early on, was just getting into dangerous groove.

But as Tennis Channel switched coverage back to Djokovic-Tsonga, Del Potro’s ailing knee reportedly became a serious issue. Del Potro slowed, lost some zip on his serve allowing Federer to grab an early break and effectively the match. Once Federer secured an early break in the fourth just like that the match was over.

Del Potro came to life breifly in the final set but it wasn’t enough as for a seventh time in his career Federer came from two sets down to win 3-6, 6-7(4), 6-2, 6-0, 6-3.

“I thought it was very good conditions for him,” said Federer. “I knew it was going to be tough anyway. I have been struggling to find my rhythm. I did feel it in the first set, even though he was up two sets. I was finding a way back and starting to feel better. [I was] just trying to figure out how to play a guy who returns from so far back on a slow court. Do you try to serve through him? Which I tried; [it] didn’t work. Or do I try and move it around a bit? And that worked a bit better, but it was really in the mix up that I found success.

“[The] second set was a tough set for me to lose, but he played a really good breaker and got the better of me. But I was happy that the first two sets took some time, because I did favour myself once the match got longer. I’m very happy with the way I fought and started in the third set, fourth set, and even in the fifth set, where, obviously, it was the toughest, because that was his last chance and his resistance maybe was the strongest there.”

For the losers, Tsonga and Del Potro, these are two very tough losses. Tsonga had four matchpoints and a guy with his firepower has to convert one of them. But the book on JW is that (like his French countrymen) he may not be able to mentally knock out the opponent. And in this case mentally he couldn’t handle the moment.

Del Potro also has the firepower but once again his body let him down. The oft-injured Argentine is the next new No. 1 in my mind, but that’s only if his body can hold up. And if it was the knee that did him in as the reports indicate, that’s going to haunt him.

“I played a great match, even [in] the third and fourth sets,” said Del Potro. “He started to play much better than in the beginning of the match.

“I didn’t serve well, and this is why I lost [the] intensity in my game. I had opportunities. I missed them. When he had opportunities he won, and that made the difference. I didn’t have any chance to win until the first game in the fifth set when I had [one] break point [opportunity].

But credit to both Federer and Djokovic. Neither had any business winning today. Tsonga should have closed one of those MPs and had Del Potro’s body held up who knows.

And Federer and Djokovic might not hit the ball the hardest or run the fastest or posses the most lethal forehands, but between the ears these guys are better than just about everyone else in the game, and that’s why they win. And it showed again today.

Now both guys will get a much-needed two days off before replaying their 2011 semifinal on Friday. Federer, who seems to be fit – though Federer fans appeared ready to claim a bad bad at the hint of any loss today – has a full 48 hours to hire a search party to find that “A” game because I still haven’t seen it. He’ll need it for the semifinals.

Djokovic is playing a bit better than Roger, but he’ll need the two days to recover from back-to-back five setters and also work out some kinks in his game before making that final historic push. The Serb just isn’t the same man he was a year ago.

So both guys should be good and ready to go Friday. And right now, with the Federer’s poor play I have to tip Djokovc as the slight favorite. But really, it could come down to which guys plays like crap less. I hope not. Regardless, both should be thankful they are still around and in the end that’s what matters most.

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128 Comments for Divine Intervention? Djokovic, Federer Get Out Of Jail Winning 5-Set Thrillers At French Open

Lou_tennisfan Says:

What a fearless display of tennis by Nole. This person knows how to handle crunch situations and not once but again and again he has shown us that there is no better player than him to make such strong comebacks! Just Brilliant!

Novak Djokovic’s Attitude : Fluke or Real? http://goo.gl/Q8DmO

madmax Says:

Who could have asked for more – four players of varying brilliance and different skills and philosophies, hurtling at various speeds towards the exit or the door to the semi-final. Rarely can Federer and Djokovic have played at exactly the same time in a slam, and almost certainly not against such quality opposition.

It was difficult to know which way to look, impossible to look away. “It was a great match,” Djokovic said. “Unfortunately there had to be one winner and one loser. He was the better player for most of the match. I was fortunate to come back from four match points. It was incredible and I hope you all enjoyed it.

“[There were] no nerves. I played really well at the start. It was difficult to stay focused. The crowd were incredible for Jo. If he won today it would have been well deserved. I hope to have another great match, like we did in 2011 [when Federer won in five sets]. My programme between now and then? A TV programme. No tennis probably.”

Federer said: “Congratulations to [Novak]. I’m still struggling to find my rhythm. I favoured myself as the match went longer. I’m happy with the way I fought.”

Dory Says:

The Djokovic-Federer matches are also ALWAYS EXTREMELY EXCITING!! Their 2011 French Open and 2011 US Open semifinals are classified among the greatest matches in tennis history by the ATP. Their 2010 USO semi was also amazing. 2010 US Open semi was where Novak got “enlightened” again Fedal and got super-motivated before embarking on his mission to the top.

van orten Says:

in the end both played well…delpo won that second set fed should have never lost…and djoker well he is the djoker…he greatly escaped…incredible…felt for tsonga but now we have the best possible semi!!!! it is def. a toss up
50/50 imo

fed has a victory in him but djoker??? do not know how many cat lives are left..incredible.

van orten Says:

do not know when was the last time fed was match point down and won the match…nadal last year cincy vs hot sauce???

Ibrahim Says:

Tsonga has got victories over Nadal, Djokovic and Federer on GS events, is he the only top guy with that record ?

jane Says:

You’re right Ibrahim – Tsonga has the best slam record again the big 3-4 players of all the top ten players:

Tsonga has beaten each of the top 3 at slams – Rafa AO 08; Nole AO 10; Fed Wimbledon 11.

Murray has beaten Nadal twice but not the others

Delpo has beaten Nadal and Fed, USO 09, but not Nole or Murray

Ferrer has beaten Nadal (2 times) but not Fed, Nole or Murray

Berdych has beaten Fed and Nole, Wimbledon 10, and Fed FO 10 but not Rafa

Tipsy has not beaten any of them Fed, Rafa, Nole or Murray.

The same for Fish. No victory at slams over those guys.

jane Says:

Sorry Berdych beat Murray at FO 10; it was Soda who took out Fed at the FO that year.

Soda has beaten Fed and Rafa, but not Nole or Murray at slams.

mat4 Says:


ouf! You were happy yesterday after Muzza won. Three hours after that crazy match, how do you feel? I am exhaust.

NachoF Says:

In south america we got Fed-DelPo on ESPN and Tsonga-Djoko on ESPN2 :)

I dont think i’ve ever seen Fed come back and win after match points against him.

Sienna Says:

matchpoints against?

jane Says:

mat4, “ouf!” is right.

madmax Says:

Q. It started raining at one stage. How was the court? Was it a problem for you to play your shots or to move on the court?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: No, because Federer’s shots were slower, as well, so the conditions have an impact on both players. I don’t think they had an influence on the quality of the game. The two others are still playing, so they didn’t stop because of the rain.
As I said, I gave him an opportunity during the fifth set; he took it.
Good for him.

Q. Did you feel you could win the match at one stage after the end of the second set? Did you start thinking, Okay, this match is going to be for me?
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO: Well, until the very last ball I thought I could win, even if I was down 5 2 during the fifth set. I have enough experience now and I can come back even when the match is very complicated and we’re in the fifth set.
That’s why I was never discouraged. Well, I always think that Federer has far more experience than I have and he can win a match more quickly. Against another player I could have won a break and I could have won perhaps, but it was Federer.

but it was Federer. Indeed. It was.

Juan Martine should be proud of his comeback. I hope he is here to stay.

Daniel Says:

Rochus in Halle 2006 I think!

Daniel Says:

And certainly Roddick had match point in one of the RR in master Cup, 2005 I think.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Can’t comment on Novak’s match because I only watched bits while watching Fed. Fed started poorly, spraying far too many UEs as he’d been doing the last few match.
The positive was his movement was excellent. He also served fairly poorly for most of the match.
From mid set 2 he was playing better, and the end of set 2 was some top notch tennis. Although Del Potro won the 2nd set it was clear Fed was going to be putting up a great fight.
If you just look at the UEs by set, you’ll see how much Fed improved over the course of this match. For most of the third set, Del Potro still was moving very well, but after a while he either got discouraged or had pain, because he really stopped chasing balls for a little bit. At the fourth he started to look like he just wanted to throw the set away. But for the fifth he really fought hard, but Fed was just too good at that point.
I wonder, for those who watched NOvak: how was his movement today? It looked quite bad against Seppi.

Brando Says:


1- fed himself acknowledged that delpo’s knee injury MAY have helped his cause today- had that not been a concern for delpo would it be WRONG TO SUGGEST that delop may have done better in set 3-5? i don’t think it would be.

2- fed, GENERALLY, has been the POORER of the 2 in this tourny. H’es dropped 1 more set so far this tourny- 3 of which to ARGUABLY to players who most have not heard of prior to this tourny.

3- Djokovic has been RELATIVELY SOLID on his SERVE this tourny- moreso than fed IMHO.

4- Djokovic has the GREATER MOTIVATION for the win- fed’s legacy is secure, novak has a ONCE IN A LIFETIME oppurtunity.

5- Djokovic beat fed FAIRLY COMFORTABLY in rome SF- fed hasn’t improved much since then for me.

So in summary, i think it shall be novak in 4. fed has A CHANCE since novak isn’t playing that well (2 back to back 5 setters)BUT HE NEEDS TO WIN 1ST SET in order to win. IF novak wins 1st set, it COULD BE A SS win for djokovic.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Of course Novak is the favourite. He has won 3 straight slams, is world #1, and just beat Fed on similar surface, fairly easily.

Neither has been playing their best, but both have shown that their form can change quickly in Slams.

Fed will need to serve much better than today; if he gives Novak that many second serves it could be ugly. But if there is anything hampering Nole’s movement, Fed will expose it fast.

jane Says:

I guess you changed you mind Brando?

Brando Says:
@Van Orten:

I AGREE- fed can handle THIS novak. IF jo has his head together he could beat THIS novak on his WEAKEST surface (that’s jo)- CLAY!

Fed will have CONFIDENCE from the delpo win, and the french crowd with him in that one!

June 5th, 2012 at 1:48 pm

Brando Says:


I saw the match. i thought the following re novak:

1- serve was SOLID- he put in 1st SERVES on MP and took control of those points- BAR 1 POINT jo had NO CHANCE on the other 3, ALL DUE TO A GOOD SERVE IMHO. 67% 1ST serves in.

2- movement was BETTER- BUT these conditions DO NOT SUIT him ( a couple funny looking shots at times, due to an AWKWARD position he had himself in).

3- STILL TOO MANY UEs- he does seem to MISS a fair bit still.

4- seemed VERY NERVOUS at times- at the end of set 2 and 3, IMHO, he lost those sets due to nerves. Set 3, for example, he could have played a DTL shot that would have given him the point in that crucial moment YET he didn’t go for it- as wilander said due to him BEING UNSURE of himself.

GENERALLY speaking, better than the seppi match, STILL NOT too great (lost 2 winnable sets to jo) and BEATABLE- BUT is playing BETTER than federer atm, so he SHOULD win.

jane Says:

TV, Nole changed back to his old shoes; it seemed to help his movement.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

OK. Now that we’re taking requests, I would like a banana split. Who’s got me?

Brando Says:


IM GLAD you copied the TIME of the post.

IF you check the stage in the match and re read what i have said in my post, take it in the context in which it was written, then you WOULD agree.

– can fed HANDLE this novak? OF COURSE he can, DOESN’T mean to say i think he’ll win.

– IF jo has his head together he could win? DON’T SEE ANYTHING radical in that statement.

– Fed will have CONFIDENCE from the delpo win, and the french crowd with him in that one! Is THAT A POSSIBILITY? OF COURSE IT IS- BUT it doesn’t determine the outcome does it?


He’s the world no. 1, he’s EARNT that tag, and he’s wearing it!

mat4 Says:

Thinking of the match a bit. Novak didn’t play that bad. He started very well, winning most of his serve games without dropping a point, his backhand was excellent, and he positioned himself much better that two days ago.

The court was very slow and we could see the difference in power between Jo and Nole. Jo’s FH down the line was a killer, Nole’s FH wasn’t. And the rebounds were lower that usual and that helped Jo’s BH. I believe that, the way he played, he would have won a set or two against anybody, and on this kind of court it is the game to bother Rafa, especially since Rafa likes to slice on his BH to get time.

Jo also proved that he has a big ego, a big heart: the way he served aces and winners on break points was breath taking.

van orten Says:

fed played great starting with it in mid second set.

he lost it in a breaker due to lack of free points on first serves.
..he played very good in sets 3,4 and 5 so i do not know what you are all talking about!!!

both players will be motivated 100%%% remember fed has a great chance of number 1 after wimbledon and nole can win 4 in a row…amazing match up but it should be rogers turn to prevail this time …at least i hope so.

nole and fed play always entertaining matches vs each other …i expect nothing else in the semis…and both have a chance to win vs nadal even here at roland garros…one just cannot quit believing it!!!

jane Says:

mat4 ” I believe that, the way he played, he would have won a set or two against anybody, and on this kind of court”

I totally agree. As my point showed above, Tsonga is a big match player, the only one in the top ten to have wins over all of the top 3 in slams.

Brando Says:


”Of course Novak is the favourite. He has won 3 straight slams, is world #1, and just beat Fed on similar surface, fairly easily.”


A fed fan too- commendable!

As a fan of NEITHER its PRETTY OBVIOUS novak is the fav!

IF fed is SOLID on serve- he can win! but ANYTHING LESS, then for me it could get ugly for fed.

Fed hasn’t been great IN ANY MATCHES so far this tourny- he needs to be in the SF!

mat4 Says:

I think the pressure is over for Nole, and that we will see the best of him in the (hopefully) next TWO matches.

Brando Says:


‘I think the pressure is over for Nole’


Fot Says:

I am so disappointed with the coverage for this French Open. Why would a “grand slam” schedule 2 block-buster matches (QF), AT THE SAME TIME!???? It doesn’t make sense. I wanted to see both matches in their entirety! But the networks kept switching back and forth. In fact, I didn’t hardly see any of my favorite player (Federer)when he won the 3, 4, and 5th sets! This is the ONLY grand slam where they schedule the quarterfinals at the same time (unless they are backed up by rain).

Then after Tennis Channel said they would cover the Djokovic match through the end – ESPN2 came on and what did they cover? The Djokovic match!!!! So I had the Djokovic match on 2 different stations – yet no Federer match.

We (the fans) got ripped, regardless of which match you really wanted to see today.

mat4 Says:

Because he plays against Federer. He is not bound to win. He will have the usual pressure of playing those matches, but, on such a stage, against such an opponent, there is no shame at losing.

Brando Says:

it s an INTERESTING STAT that tsonga’s service stats in SET 1 AND SET 5 (both 6-1) where the following:

1ST SERVE PTS WON: 44% and 46%
2ND SERVE PTS WON: 20% and 33%.

In SET 4 (TB) his 2ND SERVE PTS WON: 29%!

read WHATEVER you want as far as those numbers are concerned BUT SURELY fed CANNOT afford similar stats in ANY sets against novak in order to win.

fed NEEDS TO BE SOLID on serve on friday, otherwise its ……….

bstevens Says:

I think the last time Federer won a match down matchpoint was agains Lopez in Madrid 2011. As for Djokovic, the guy just knows how to find a way to survive when down multiple match points. And the manner in which he plays those matchpoints: playing aggressive, not afraid to miss, is simply inspiring. Both Federer and Djokovic have struggled this tournament, yet both have found a way. Lets hope for another highly entertaining Fedole!

Brando Says:


VALID point, BUT he’ll be feeling the pressure FOR SURE. Its SELF INDUCED- he wants RG BADLY, and IMHO i think that’s WHY he’s been shaky so far.

5 sets against seppi, 5 against jo- NOBODY EXPECTED this at all.

IF fed brings his A GAME, you’ll see a NERVOUS djokovic for sure. it’s ONLY NATURAL- this is a MASSIVE OPPURTUNITY after all!

mat4 Says:

Of course, there will be some pressure. I agree. But there will be some on Fed too, who has lost 6 of 7 last matches against Nole. I believe Nole will play much better.

I would like to repeat that today, although he had lapses (most notably at 3-1 in the second set) I don’t feel he played bad. Jo was in ferocious mood, and made Nole look bad for a moment. Also, the ball on his backhand were most of the time very low, so it was difficult to be in position to play a good BH down the line.

Brando Says:


IMHO, it depends on FEDS SERVE. IF that’s solid- he should win, since novak wasn’t too great today. He HIMSELF said in the press comments that MOST OF THE TIME jo was better.

BUT, fed’s serve IS NOT SOLID atm, so novak SHOULD WIN

jane Says:

mat4, some good quotes, thanks for posting that article. Tsonga was inspired today, as the people in most of the write ups I have read say:

“Against Djokovic, however, Tsonga fought hard on both wings and proved once more he has major material. He did not blink against the moment or against the formidable pressure from Djokovic.

Throughout the match, as it became clear that Tsonga on this day was playing inspired, championship-level tennis. The crowd at Chatrier grew more ambitious and emboldened, sensing that something special, something historic and personal was occurring”.

mat4 Says:

You never know with such players. They look bad, bad, worse, and suddenly they play at their very top when it matters the most. It is a tough call.

mat4 Says:


I’m still waiting for Tignor’s article. He needs a lot of time to write. Should be something special.

What’s your take for tomorrow’s QFs? Do you feel too that Andy is gonna make the semi? I read your opinion about Rafa’s match.

dari Says:

Just now watching some of novak tsonga match
From.what I have seen a) its a higher quality than fed delpo
b) I think I might cry for tsonga after this :/

Kimmi Says:

wow! what a day. didn’t expect tsonga to push novak like this but I knew what delpo is capable of though.

Novak is a master of crazy comebacks I tell you. how many of those has he done so far?

Well, Nole vs tsonga match was very good but i wanted to also watch federer vs delpo. there is very little of this match on my recording. :(

Wog boy Says:

After rewatching Nole-Tsonga match I think that Nole let Tsonga back in to the match in 2nd and 3rd set when he was too passive and overcautious after early brakes, methinks.

4th set was very, very good one, from both of them.

5th set, Nole broke him at the right time and it was no way back for Tsonga, he just ran out of juice.

mat4 Says:

Tignor has finally written his article. Maybe DelPo didn’t play “unbelievable”, but Tignor writes “unbelievable”.

Wog boy Says:

And I believe Murray can make some noise if he is to play Nadal.

jane Says:

mat4, I think Murray has a very good shot to win against Ferrer, if he plays like he did versus Gasquet in sets 3 & 4. He hasn’t beaten Ferrer on clay, but he’s 5-4 in their H2H. And if a player wants to, he can impose his game on almost any surface. You don’t have to play clay-court tennis on a clay-court as Tsonga showed today.

Wog Boy, definitely he let up in the second set: Nole was up a break. But still, Jo played some pretty great tennis in the match.

Wog boy Says:


No question Tsonga played great match but Nole could do better than he did after brakes. Not taking anything out of Tsonga’s game, on the contrary, sorry if it did sound like that.

Michael Says:

Novak has made a habit of winnning nearly lost matches and here he has done it yet again. That shows the tenacity and fighting qualities of this Champion. Nevertheless, you need some luck to turn things around and Novak had them in plenty. Bad luck to Tsonga who I thought play brilliantly in the 2nd, 3rd and even 4th sets. But it is the end that matters and Novak is the winner. By virtue of this, he has still kept alive his hopes of a Grand Slam. But that is possible only if he lifts his level of play.

jane Says:

No no Wog Boy, you’re perfectly right – I hope you’re not too tired. :)

Michael Says:

As regards Roger Vs Del Potro, the former won deservingly and it is wrong to attribute body issues for Del Potro’s defeat. Once you are into the match, you are supposed to be fully fit and raring to play. If Del Potro’s didn’t hold up, then he is unfit for five set Tennis. He is just 23 while Roger is 31 and here we are seeing excuses for his defeat. If a five setter hurts, it should logically apply to Roger and not Potro.

Wog boy Says:

I feel much better now, thanks for asking.
I had sam French toast for breakfast, feta cheese and buttermilk:) ready for action:)

Michael Says:

In all probability, it should be Nadal Vs Ferrer in the other semi final unless Murray surprises me. Remember he is 0-3 against Ferrer on Clay and it is difficult to imagine that he would get one better with Ferrer in such fine form. Ofcourse anything can happen in Tennis but still the edge will be with Ferrer and the match in his hands virtually.

Wog boy Says:

7:55was for jane.

conty Says:

Divine Intervention, You Say? Was wondering something like that myself.

About The Tennis Gods:

They have smiled on, and protected the Rod Laver records. Through all the technological changes and advances in tennis; even as humans devise methods and routines for squeezing more and more out of the anatomy and physiology of gifted athletes; great players have come and gone, some have come close; and yet, Laver is still favored by ‘Them.’

It feels to me, with all his talent and luck, they like this Novak Djokovic very much. Do they favor him enough to show him the wormhole, the shortcut, to that Universe where Career Slam souls, past and present, abide? Even perhaps gift him the special Djokerslam this very year?

Recently, I was in a Californian desert on vacation. Unfortunately, it was not during the Indian Wells tournament like last year. Nevertheless, I drove the the short distance to the grounds and sat on the court where I watched Roger, Rafa, and Nole practice in 2011. It was the day of the solar eclipse, had I been in the right latitude to see it in full, but I wasn’t. The moment came and went, with barely a notice of a partial eclipse. However, for a tennis fanatic like myself, it was a nice try, and kind of a semi-religious experience by my own standards.

I was only there briefly frying in the 104F hot sun, but had this on my ipod…listening and thinking of the next GS final at Rolland Garros:

Who will be the winner at FO? I don’t know. Always tempted to open a sports book account and bet, I remind myself I’m too lowly to be privy to such Tennis God secrets, plus too tight with my money to bet; best stick to the ritual practice of Bracket Challenges for free.

So back at the condo, I opened the brackets for FO. I thought Serena would win on the WTA side. Wrong. My mortal guess on the ATP side, Nadal. But somehow I wasn’t able to put Nadal on either one of my Tennis-x Kimberly brackets, though I meant to have him on one, really I did. It was probably a sub-conscious mistake, because I’ve been pleading to ‘Them’ to show Djokovic the wormhole shortcut this very year and at last, silence the Fedal War Sandbox Fights. hehehee ajde, ajde, ajde, Nole, ole, ole :D :D

Tennis Gods like to Keep me guessing:

And that’s the truth. As in other years, my pleas and sacrifices might be in vain, since Tennis Gods are only a figment of my imagination, anyways. That’s okay. I’m satisfied that Nole will get the Career Slam eventually, if not this year, another year.

jane Says:

Awesome Wog Boy: happy to hear it :)

Tignor’s write up is great as usual! Here’s the link


Some comments:

“As for del Potro’s drop off, it remains a mystery. Pressed on whether his knee affected him, he refuses to bite: “No,” is all he says. He chalks the loss up to his poor serving, and Federer’s improvement, yet del Potro took a painkiller at the end of the second set, and there were moments when he wasn’t running for routine shots. And while he was blitzed off the court in the fourth, he came back and competed in the fifth. An Argentine journalist who knows del Potro says this is one of the few times that he has no idea what happened to him. ”

“Asked about his upcoming semifinal with Djokovic, Federer speaks for both of them, and for us. “We’re looking forward to it,” he says. The truth, from the truth.”

“Tsonga reacts the way most French players react to the support here: He rides it at times, and lets it ride over him at others. Sometimes a long chant will produce an inspired winner, other times it leads to a duffed volley into the bottom of the net. After an indifferent first set—he appears to be out of position on roughly half of his shots—Tsonga has a 6-5 lead in the second. He’s taken the match from Djokovic, with a string of rifled backhands and lunging, improbable drop volley winners that the Serb can only applaud. There are enough great shots that Djokovic has to find new ways to show his appreciation. He begins by clapping his racquet strings, but soon moves to the thumbs up sign. Tsonga reaches set point and, like a quarterback, quiets the anxiously stirring crowd by holding up his racquet. When he breaks for the set a few minutes later, it seems that all 15,000 people—including the beret biter below me—shoot their arms out from their sides at once. ”

“The worst for Jo is still to come, in the tiebreaker. He wins four straight points, including one with a broken string, and another with a brilliant flick backhand crosscourt, to go up 4-2. But instead of continuing to attack, Tsonga backs up and hopes that Djokovic will miss. If there’s one thing we’ve learned about Djokovic over the last four majors, it’s that if he’s up against a wall, he stops missing. It’s true again, as he comes back to win 8-6. Of particular note is the return of serve that he hits off a very good Tsonga delivery at 6-6; few other players in the world could have done it as well, and it draws a forehand error. This is, essentially, Djokovic’s version of Federer’s “Shut up!” The crowd barely makes another peep, as a gutted Tsonga goes down 6-1 in the fifth.”

“One of us had to win,” Djokovic says.

“It’s tennis,” Tsonga says.

There’s no rational explanation for either.

mat4 Says:


I enjoyed your post. Grendel has his moments, jane too, but this was pure poetry.

David Mercer, commenting for Eurosport, asked the same question: is faith on Novak’s side this time? Who knows. But I keep thinking that, if he makes the final, he won’t lose it.

jane Says:

conty at 8:00 pm – one of my favourite all-time Tennis X posts EVER! Loved it! Awwwwwesome. :)

mat4 Says:


great article. Not a pure spiritual experience like conty’s, but almost also mystical.

trufan Says:

Looks like the same magical story again.

Ferrer murray will kill each other in a long match. Then Nadal plays either a tired ferrer or a tired murray and beats them.

Then federer djokovic kill each other in a long match.

then Nadal gets to play either a tired djokovic or a tired federer.

That’s what an easy draw does – helps you get through matches easily, while your opponents are always crossing higher hurdles..

Amazing how many times it has happened with Nadal

harry Says:

@conty (8pm), i really liked your writeup! thanks…
@mat4 and jane, thanks for the links.

jane Says:

Read this at Tennis.com in a fan’s post: “Del Potro was 37-0 after winning the 1st two sets (majors + Davis Cup) before today’s loss”

Brando Says:

“As in other years, my pleas and sacrifices might be in vain, since Tennis Gods are only a figment of my imagination, anyways”. THERE WE GO- hit the nail on the head there conty! We ALL believe what we WANT to believe- NO ONE knows what shall happen. Let’s just see how things unfold…..

mat4 Says:

But, Brando, it has already been scientifically proved that reality is just a product of our imagination…

conty Says:

thanks peeps. I’m a little wacky about tennis, my BF would vouch for that.

true story. being down in cali at empty Indian Wells and was just laughing at myself in the shower when I thought of that moment *somewhat embarrassing* but I thought if to anyone, it would be here to tell it.

Wog boy Says:

Wow mat4, that is a good one, really…..really good one !

conty Says:

But you have to click on the music link to get what I was thinking about the FO final. I just don’t know who will be doing the clubbing and which guy is on the receiving end. Hoping it’s not a Fedal :/

mat4 Says:

But it is the true, no?

Brando Says:

@mat4: so in other words- we SEE what we want to see?

Wog boy Says:


Thanks for sharing.

Wog boy Says:


Yes, it is, I guess somebody can do Master Degree based on that…not just one:)

Lisa Says:

The set is finally staged…..I’ve been waiting for this moment since the Rome Masters last month….

Federer vs Djokovic ( 2012 French Open Semifinal)

I said if before and I will say it agin and again…..

“This is where it matters most. That win by Djokovic in Rome meant very little to Fed”

This is where the World will Truely know Who is the Most Dominant and Superior Player between Them…..Not At Some Small Tournament…..

Why?? Biggest Stage, and it Means So So Much for Federer To Win…..more so then like in Rome….etc…

When Djokovic plays Federer on Friday….he will play against ‘The Very Best Of Federer’…..more so then any where else( apart from the Olympic….given they meet again) in 2012

If Djokovic wants to claim his supremacy over Federer…..it’s this match/stage more so then any other match they will ever play against each other this year…..

Hope both players will be fully fit, fully energized, fully refreshed and healthy by then….

Then we will know the answer…..

conty Says:

Somebody’s going to get a clubbing. Great matches coming up. And I’m not in any way insinuating that I know the winner. The favorite is Nadal, of course. I was only day-dreaming sitting there with my BF patiently waiting while I walked around, then sat at practice court #17. He started walking back to the air-conditioned car without me, lol. But he is the same way about Formula One, crazy fan. At least he gets me.

Tignor’s write-ups from court-side are the best! Oh to have such a job!

Kimmi Says:

Lisa – djokovic has beaten fed few times on the biggest stage already. So, he can do it here too.

Kimmi Says:

Fot – I agree with you. to schedule two big matches at the same time is not very smart. They do the same thing tomorrow. I wonder if the semi finals will be the same.

jane Says:

Fed is 5-4 over Nole at slams:

Fed won 2007 AO; 2007 USO; 2008 USO; 2009 USO; 2011 RG.

Nole won 2008 AO; 2010 USO; 2011 AO; 2011 USO.

skeezer Says:


Nice post @ 8:00pm :-)

Brando Says:

@lisa: WOW- I LIKE CONFIDENT fans like yourself! Good luck to fed! He’s 4-4 versus novak at slams. He had MP in 2 novak wins (USO 10,11) and was of course diagnosed mono at AO 2008. So he does have a GOOD record against novak at slams. BAR AO 10 ( he got outclassed) And AO 08 (mono) he’s had STRONG CHANCES against novak! Fed can do ti for sure!

skeezer Says:

Does anyone know the point issues as of today? As an example, If Fed loses against Nole he will lose points, but how many, and where would that put him in the race before Wimby. And Noles scenario?

Rafa has no where to Go in this tourney but down ( unless he wins, the he gets 0?)


Brando Says:

@skeez: IF fed loses in SF he’ll lose 480 points from last year in this tourny. Leaving. Halle aside (250 tourny) he’ll need to make finals at wimby in order to start gaining ( he was Qtr at wimby last year). Novak can ONLY gain here, rafa cannot.

jane Says:

skeezer, Fed has finals points to defend, which is 1200. Nole defended his points from last year today (720), so he can’t lose any. If Fed loses he loses he loses 480 points. I don’t know anything about the number 1 race. I don’t follow it.

conty Says:

Well, I haven’t checked what exactly my DVR recorded from Tennis Channel. I was streaming ATP matches from my laptop and Djokovic-Tsonga was just getting started; Federer was getting beat by Delpo. Have not watched both matches completely.

I’ll be really po’d if I don’t have both. I guess the only solution is to record the entire day tomorrow, because I won’t be home at all. Tennis Channel has basically sucked in its coverage over the week-end. I won’t pay for it, if I still need to stream to see live matches. TC showing Davis Cup reruns over live matches this week-end was frustrating.

jane Says:

Oops my needle got stuck. And I six-beered Brando too.

Brando Says:

@skeez: IF fed loses in SF, rafa in finals- fed is new no.2 by a MERE 50 POINTS! IF fed wants no.1 ( he does), IMO he needs to win since novak COULD gain 1280 points IF he wins. Add on the 480 points fed loses, then 1760 is a MASSIVE difference between fed and nole after RG!

Brando Says:

@skeez: IF the above happens, POST RG fed would be 3770 points behind novak. Meaning NO REAL CHANCE for no.1!

jatt Says:


read this tweet from chris Mckendry on the youtube video

“Somewhere Rafa can’t believe how hard everyone is fighting for a shot at second place.”

so very true

Brando Says:

@jatt: LMAO, hope rafa wins! He just needs to focus on getting his game at it’s VERY BEST. IF he does that then he cannot more of himself and he’ll be fine.

conty Says:

From what I’ve seen so far, it was lucky for Federer that Delpo had to have a MTO and his knee was in too much pain to keep up a high enough level – serving, pushing off the injured knee and restricted movement. I don’t care what Delpo says in his post-match comments, he’s trained to be politically correct. I’m not convinced about Federer’s form right now. And what I’ve seen of Djokovic – Tsonga, I have to pick Nole over Fed. It will be interesting to see how Murray does tomorrow. I expect Nadal to come through.

metan Says:

Congrat to roger and nole ,

We’ll have good semi,

King Federer Says:

Brando :

fed is 5-4 against novak @ slams! aus open 07, uso 07-09 and fo 2011

skeezer Says:

Tx brando & jane ;)

jatt Says:

very true conty..

I was surprised with the way delpo just stopped moving at all in the match during the 4th set. I could see so many shots passing by from fed which he did not even make an effort to go after. Looked like something was bothering him. I am happy to accept that the tennis gods are with Fed because with the game he is currently playing, he will definitely need them in the next match.

Brando Says:

@conty: I COMPETELY AGREE with you re 9.47 post. Fed can win BUT he needs to step up big time, otherwise it could be Rome Sf all over again. Having seen BOTH in qtrs and earlier, DJOKOVICS the CLEAR fav in this one!

Brando Says:

I HOPE I am wrong, BUT my gut instinct tells me that post fridays the talk will be about how djokovic has joined nadal as being a TOUGH task for fed at a GS slam. Love the guy, BUT genuinely feel Friday maybe BRUTAL for him. IF he loses, I hope he goes swinging! No TKO please novak!

Lisa Says:


I know Djokovic has won Federer at the biggest stage before( few times)….But unlike before….The Stakes are just higher then before….

Why? Federer wants it so badly….Because to win this tournament, especially against Nadal in Final( very unlikely however)……

“Would Mean So Much Then Any Match in his Entire Career”

King Federer Says:

I would say it’s better for Fed fans that novak wins the french and not rafa.

even though novak gains, he has 5600 points to defend on grass through USO – so fed can always get ahead there.

a loss for rafa here will put rafa almost on the backfoot as the rest of the season is relatively pro-fed than pro-rafa. starting with wimbledon, i dont think there is any tournament rafa has won more than fed. the best is canadian open where both got 2 titles.

fed has 5 halle to rafa’s 1 queens, 6 wimbledon to 2. 4 cincinnati to 0, 5 uso to 1. 1paris to 0 and 6 tour enders to 0 from rafa.

trufan Says:

This time around, Djokovic will beat Fed, perhaps in 4. Both have had long matches, but Fed is SIX years older than Djokovic, no way he can recover fully, even in 2 days.

Djokovic will be relatively in better shape, and is a better player today. Plus he has the extra motivation of gaining points, and of course, the Djoker slam.

get out your popcorn for a Djoke Nadal final. I just hope Djoke is fresh, and has a short win against Federer, so that its an even battle.

Kimmi Says:

conty – sometimes players don’t bother chasing balls when they see they don’t have a chance in the set, saving themselves for the next set. Why bother try to chase balls when you are 4-0, two breaks down when the other guy is playing very well??

I didn’t see the whole match so I am just guessing, but it does feel this might be the case because he started playing better in the 5th set.

trufan Says:

good stats King Federer!

King Federer Says:

bottomline :

a loss at the french will almost certainly put an end to rafa’s aspirations for the number 1 and makes it a 2 horse race.

skeezer Says:

^can’t imagine Rafa not being a horse.

King Federer Says:

hate novak like he is the black plague, but what he has done the last 18 months is jaw-dropping. he carved a niche for himself in the fedal era!

he has handled the GS run better than sampras and nadal and if he beats fed on friday, he will equal federer’s best runs when gunning for 4 in a row. i still think rafa will get this french and do himself a favor, but who knows!

tru fan :

4 AO to 1, 4 indian wells to 2, 2 miami to 0. 5 dubai to 1.

it is only on 1 surface that rafa does this to fed. 8monte carlo to 0, 6barcelona and 5 rome to 0. 6 fo to 1. hamburg, fed has 4 to 1 and madrid, fed has 2 to 1.

King Federer Says:

me too skeezer, his face is so horse like!

as for the number 1 race, we will soon know!

trufan Says:

best case scenario is ferrer beats murray easily, and gives hell to nadal.

jane Says:

KF, Well I like this part of your sentence “but what he has done the last 18 months is jaw-dropping. he carved a niche for himself in the fedal era!” :)

Lisa Says:


IMO…. Murray would be more of a treat to Nadal then Ferrer….

But again, it remains it to seen….

Humble Rafa Says:

Just got off the phone with Tennis God. No, He is not Swiss.

I mean, I talked to the real Tennis God. He asked me to remain humble and work on my backhand. Success will come easily in due time, I was told.

Humble Rafa Says:

a loss at the french will almost certainly put an end to rafa’s aspirations

So, you have “considered” the possibility that your Humble Highness may actually lose at Roland Garros this year. Wow. You must have free time to burn.

harry Says:

Nice numbers on the big four vs the next five…

Michael Says:

Novak has just two more rounds to achieve the most coveted title in Tennis, “The Grand Slam” and what better way to do it if he has Roger and Nadal on the way and he dislodges them. If he wins this one, I am sure Novak will go on to win the other majors too flying with confidence. But things aren’t going to be easy against Roger as well as against Nadal if he manages to reach there. But still if any player has a chance against Rafa on clay, it is only Novak and may be the other player I would say Ferrer. Roger is aged and beating Novak and Nadal back-to-back would be too much for him in my opinion. He might well surprise me but I give only 10/100th of a chance for that to happen.

Nirmal Kumar Says:

Nole goes to this match with less pressure of having defended his points. He has nothing to lose. He is very dangerous with that mindset.

Also any matchup between Novak and Roger, the advantage goes to Novak. Roger may scrap through 1 or 2 wins, but mostly it has to be Novak in outdoors.

conty Says:


“conty – sometimes players don’t bother chasing balls when they see they don’t have a chance in the set, saving themselves for the next set. Why bother try to chase balls when you are 4-0, two breaks down when the other guy is playing very well??”

“I didn’t see the whole match so I am just guessing, but it does feel this might be the case because he started playing better in the 5th set.”

I had to shut down my streams and fly out the door, Kiimi. But, had watched Djokovic take control of the 1st set in his match and Delpo looking better than Federror, taking the 1st set.

I kept checking the scores while I was out (driving) yikes, I know. I thought wow, either Delpo’s knee is really injured, Federer has found God-mode, or, Delpo is somewhat concerned with something about his knee but just waiting to turn it on in one last burst, winning in the 5th. That’s what I was thinking by watching the score.

While watching tonight, I was thinking Delpo was a) really hurting when he pushed off his knee. b) or, possibly hurting but maybe conserving and would mount a comeback 5th set. c) what I came to mostly think is that Delpo was determined not going to retire in a GS match but neither was he going to risk further injury when attempting to go for shots. Class act, Delpo. Smart move. That’s an injured knee. I don’t know what’s injured about it but I hope it is a Rafa-like tendinitis and he can get that wonder treatment. I dunno.

It was a sad situation, imo. Federer did what he had to do and finished him off quickly as possible. But it took Federer awhile and if I didn’t know the outcome already, I may have been concerned when Federer was serving out the match. He’s had trouble lately in other matches closing, all on his own. I am now happy Federer won. Clearly he’s better than if Delpo would have been able to keep pushing hard in pain. Gilles Simon vs Ljubici in Paris-Bercy comes to mind, forget which year. No way was Delpo going to get through and be competitive in the final or semi in that shape! Roger was the best man to come through.

After watching Nole and Jo, that was a much tougher contest for Nole than Federer had with Delpo but imo, Djokovic had to play better today to get to the semi. Nole is younger and I’m guessing his recovery time is better than Federer’s. Nole showed more signs of good form potential for the final than Federer, imo. But who knows. I don’t rule out Federer making the final; certainly you know me well enough; I can be very wrong!

Just preparing for a Fedal though I have this on my ipod for listening. It’s dedicated to Federer on the long bike ride, Sunday, while I think of Federer losing to Nadal for the nth time at an FO final. Also have a bunch of happy music but this will fit my initial mood that morning for another FO Fedal:


G’nite. will miss Murray’s match tomorrow completely :/

Nirmal Kumar Says:

Trufan says : Ferrer murray will kill each other in a long match

So you are not happy that Roger’s opponent was playing in one leg for most of the match. Still think Rafa has some advantage. Crazy.

Nirmal Kumar Says:

Novak confidence should be too high now. He would be itching to take on Rafa now. This is the type of match he needed to spur him against NAdal in the finals. He won a very high quality opponent who would have taken out Roger in 3 sets with his play, but Novak could withstand him and take him out.

Still Novak is not hitting his CC BH, which was his money shot against Nadal last year. I believe he will use Roger’s match as practice session to play against Nadal. We can see him going for his CC BH shots more against Roger.

Hope Roger gives Novak a decent match so that he will not lose his rhythm while playing against Nadal in Finals. Had Novak played a better opponent in Rome semis, he would have had better rhythm against Rafa in finals and most likely won the finals.

steve-o Says:

Just now watching a chunk of Djokovic-Tsonga (I only caught the tiebreak + final set live, having been glued to Federer-Del Potro). It was very grueling stuff. Tsonga had real trouble powering through the slow clay, although he did very well. Also came to net a lot.

Djokovic definitely won on heart and determination, and not because his game was in sparkling form. Tsonga gave way to exhaustion and disappointment in the last set (he’d just won another five-setter, to win another was too much). So I still have no idea whether Djokovic will be able to raise his game in the semis.

With Federer it was more like his game was off coming into the match, and then he got it together after two sets.

I believe Del Potro, knowing he was physically compromised, played ultra-aggressively in the first two sets and then used the third and fourth as recovery time for the fifth. A risky strategy, but one made necessary by his condition.

He earned break points in the first game of the fifth, which Federer fought off. That was probably the key point of the match.

After going down two sets, Federer had no margin for error. One screwup, one bad service game in the third and fourth, and he would have been toast. If Federer hadn’t quashed Del Potro’s charge early in the third and fourth, I’m sure the Argentinean would have been happy to take advantage and give his all to try to break Federer and close it out.

He had to play flawlessly for two sets just to draw level–and then one more flawless set, against an opponent who moved deceptively well despite his knee issues. The fifth set was the toughest to win and Federer didn’t make any mistakes on serve.

Del Potro himself said he was very confident in the fifth set, and perhaps against any other player he would have been able to break back from 5-2 down, but not Federer.

Steve 27 Says:

The same history. Tsonga and del Potro out, Djokovic and Federer, one more time showed their fierce mentality and their willpower. But one of them will be in the final. Would be another five set match like Us Open 2010 and 2011? Would be another 4 tight match like RG 2011? who will win? and how much energy if their match prolongs, one of them will he have on Sunday?
one thing is sure: Nadal will eat his opponent on Sunday pretty handily.

King Federer Says:

jane :

i posted that line for you :) you are a fair and knowledgeable djokovic fan – something i find are rare qualities in nole fans.

i will be rooting for a nole slam (along with most federer fans) IF nole beats fed on friday.

trufan Says:

Nirmal says:

Had Novak played a better opponent in Rome semis, he would have had better rhythm against Rafa in finals and most likely won the finals

So you do think Djokovic is better than Nadal on clay??

As for Fed Delpo – of course, Fed got the advantage of Delpo’s injury. THough a fit Almagro is less dangerous than a Delpo who’s injury flares up two hours into the match.

But Fed is not that relevant for the French Open. Djokovic is. If Nadal plays a frech Djokovic, he is toast.

Michael Says:


How can you get a better opponent than Roger ?? Remember this man has made five finals at Rolland Garros which is his least favoured surface.

King Federer Says:

nirmal :

you seem to be having diarrhea through your mouth. the amount of filth you post!

are you really stupid or pretending to be stupid?

djokovic is going to treat his match against fed as a practice? this guy wouldn’t have made the semis if tsonga/seppi didn’t play their matches like they were practicing.

i thought you were a dumb nole fan. turns out you are just plain dumb! please keep your stupidity to yourself. at levels such as yours, stupidity is highly contagious, i hear!

Bryan Says:

King Federer Says:
i will be rooting for a nole slam (along with most federer fans) IF nole beats fed on friday.

Of course you are and most likely all the Fed fans. Put Errani on the other side of the net against Rafa and you’ll still root for her.

Funny thing is, there was a time in the past when Fed fans hated Djoko so much.

skeezer Says:

^go Errani! GOAT!

Nirmal Kumar Says:

trufan says : So you do think Djokovic is better than Nadal on clay??

No, I don’t think so. But that does not mean he cannot beat Nadal on clay. Just refer to last year clay matches. Even in 2009, he came very close to beating Nadal.

Just because be is not better than Nadal does not mean he will never beat him right?

But Fed is not that relevant for the French Open. Djokovic is. If Nadal plays a frech Djokovic, he is toast.

Yea, exactly. That’s why I was not too excited about Roger beating Del Po y’day. He should take rest and start practicing in Grass. He has both Wimbledon and Olympics coming up there. He should start focusing on it.

Nirmal Kumar Says:

you seem to be having diarrhea through your mouth. the amount of filth you post!

Ok, relax. You don’t really get to be so emotional. We are just discussing tennis right?

King Federer says: djokovic is going to treat his match against fed as a practice? this guy wouldn’t have made the semis if tsonga/seppi didn’t play their matches like they were practicing.

I’m not really sure about your point. Are you saying Tsonga is a weak opponent. He is the only guy who has beaten Top 3 in the GS. His level of play y’day against Novak was similar to his level against Roger at Wim 11. So he would take a huge confidence in beating a healthy and a high level playing opponent.

But for Roger, he knows in his mind, he got better of DelPo only after his knees let him down. He is not going to be confident. He knows his rhythm is not there. I just see that his matches against Novak gets over pretty quickly unless it’s USO. He can’t even take Novak to 4 sets in AO. He gets thrashed by him in Dubai and Rome. Novak is a tough match up for him.

Roger’s only glory for past 2 years seems to be his Semis victory against Novak at FO. But that was a different Roger playing a different ball at FO.

BTW, I’m a Roger fan fyi. I understand Roger’s tennis much better than you.

sheila Says:

the matches on sunday, djokovic & federer were heart attack city, but federer got thru. i wanted tsonga but i knew once they went to a fifth djokovic would take it(mentally tuffer). unfortunately for federer, i dont think he will get by djokovic. federer won delpo match because delpos performance went down. djokovic won because his performance went up. i just dont c federer winning djokovic w/the way he has been playing. i dont c djokovic winning nadal w/the way hes been playing either. so boringly predictable as we all knew the fo would be, nadal will surely win this

madmax Says:


I am going to watch this match all over again. I LOVED it when Roger showed his passion. For anyone who thinks that Roger ever tries to “tank” a match, God, you only have to watch this to understand how passionate he is about playing anyone. The match point scenario back at the USO in 2009 must still be hidden away somewhere in his mind, but what an idiot person in the crowd for shouting “out” during the actual point being played. I can’t believe these people are real tennis fans. The french crowd really are one on their own.

Federer must have been livid!

jatt Says:

very true madmax

I watched the youtube video of the incident and fed had absolutely every right to get annoyed. Somehow I do not like this FO crowd. Booing Murray even before the match started.. no class at all

Lulu Iberica Says:

^To the nasty horse comments, first, horses are beautiful creatures. I was thinking the other day that Sharapova is like a fine race horse. Second, Rafa’s face doesn’t look anything like a horse. I think his features are absolutely gorgeous, though I know not everyone likes that fierce look. Sounds like some people are jealous of a manly man!

Michael Says:


Still Roger leads Novak in their H2H in all surfaces.

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