Super Showdown: Federer Faces Djokovic In Dubai SFs Friday; Who’s The Pick?
by Sean Randall | February 27th, 2014, 3:58 pm
  • 95 Comments

We’ll have our first big superstar showdown in a non-Slam tournament of the season tomorrow when former No. 1s Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic collide in the Dubai semifinals. Between the two, Federer and Djokovic have combined to win nine titles in Dubai including the last five.

What makes this match-up extra intriguing is the coaching rivalry. Federer of course now has Stefan Edberg in his box while for the first time when they meet Djokovic will have Boris Becker.

Head-to-head, Federer leads by a slim 16-15 margin but Djokovic, who at 26 is six years younger than Roger, has won the last three (they’s split two Dubai matches). And coming into this one, given their recent history, their results and the age difference, Novak’s the favorite here.

However Federer’s clearly been playing better than he was in their last meeting won by Djokovic in a sloppy three sets at the ATP Finals. Under Edberg, Roger’s been much more aggressive, more fine tuned with his game as we saw in Australia in wins over JW Tsonga and Andy Murray. And that troubled back of his is no longer causing him trouble.

So health-wise, both seem to be in perfect shape which should make for a great match.

“We know each other very well, and we’ve played each other everywhere and [on] all the surfaces, you name it,” Federer said of the rivalry. “I think we always play the match-up actually very good, because we play explosive, aggressive tennis, so there is always some shot-making going on. I’m looking forward to the match. One match, best of three sets on a court like this, it’s a bit of ‘let’s see what happens’, anyway. We both know that.”

Earlier today, after a rocky win over Radek Stepanek, Federer Swiss blew out Lukas Rosol 6-2, 6-2 while Djokovic earned a walkover from an ill Mikhail Youzhny.

“He is in the semis, he’s already played two matches, he’s been here long enough for preparing, and he’s fit enough for anything anyway,” Federer said of Djokovic’s walkover. “Every match you can get away from is a good one.

“For me, it was important also probably not to be out there for three hours. Then it would have been a disadvantage. But I think we’re back on even terms for tomorrow.”

I would agree, the day off for Novak shouldn’t be a problem. What will be the key I think is the serve and the return. On the quick courts whoever wins that battle should win the match. The thing is, Federer’s will likely get the better of the serve while Djokovic is the stronger returner.

So there’s not much to choose here, but i shall.

Even though Djokovic is the tournament’s defending champion, Dubai is Roger’s home away from home. Still, there’s a reason Djokovic’s is ranked No. 2 and Federer’s No. 8. The Serb, right now, is just the better player so I’ll take him in three sets here.

In the first semi, Tomas Berdych, who manhandled JW Tsonga 6-4, 6-3 in his quarter meets Phil Kohlschreiber. The big Czech Berdych is following up that Australian Open semi with a very strong February. He just won Rotterdam and he’s playing well again this week. And I think he’ll take down Phil as well.

Kohlschreiber collected his 300th career win defeat Malek Jazeri en route to the semis. Like Berdych, he also hasn’t been tested yet or lost a set, but Berdych, who’s 7-1 against the German, is a big big step up from the Tunisian, Seppi or de Bakker!

Later tonight, Andy Murray is back in action in Acapulco. It’s been another trying week for Murray who struggled early in both wins so far, and now he’ll get Gilles Simon on those transformed hardcourt in Mexico.

Coming off that back surgery, the expectations have been understandably low for the Wimbledon champ, but with Indian Wells and Miami fast approaching it’s getting close to time for Murray to find that next gear, assuming he still has it.

Tennis Channel should have coverage later (around 10pm ET) of Murray-Simon then will have the live broadcast of the Dubai semis starting at 10am ET.

FRIDAY DUBAI SCHEDULE
CENTRE COURT start 2:30 pm
[1] D Nestor (CAN) / N Zimonjic (SRB) vs D Brands (GER) / F Mayer (GER)

Not Before 5:00 pm
[3] T Berdych (CZE) vs [7] P Kohlschreiber (GER)

Not Before 7:00 pm
[1] N Djokovic (SRB) vs [4] R Federer (SUI)
T Bednarek (POL) / L Dlouhy (CZE) vs [2] R Bopanna (IND) / A Qureshi (PAK)


Also Check Out:
Roger Federer In NYC Tonight For MSG Showdown
Federer v. Djokovic, Who’s the Pick? Women’s SFs at Australian Open
Roger Federer Shows Up at the Super Bowl
Federer Pulls Out of Davis Cup, Dubai Citing Back Injury
You Say Dubai, I Say Money

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95 Comments for Super Showdown: Federer Faces Djokovic In Dubai SFs Friday; Who’s The Pick?

Ben Pronin Says:

Djokovic-Federer should be a cracker. But honestly, I think Berdych might win Dubai no matter what. It looks like Wawrinka’s AO win has sparked something inside of Berdych. I know he’s only got one small title to show for it but he’s playing really, really well.

I think Murray will need more time. He’s coming off of back surgery. His body needs to readjust. Maybe it takes more than a few months, but he’ll get there.


Brando Says:

No dog in this fight (as the expression goes) so my pick is:

Djokovic in 2.

Fed does not really have a matchup issue with Novak or does his game overly bother him. After all: he was the one who beat Novak at his prime, unbeaten streak within 4 sets.

But the problem for Fed here is: age.

Fed’s 32 whilst Novak is 26: that 6 year gap is huge between them.

Essentially what Novak does is:

1. Engage Fed in rallies- as many as possible. This is easy for him to do due to his great defense.

2. Wear him down. He knows the longer the match, the greater his chances rise and more likely for Fed to start crumbling.

And it works.

WTF Final 2012: Fed got great starts in both sets but he just could not maintain the level. Paris last year etc.

Fed will play great. He will have moments where there is no doubt he’s on top of proceedings but ultimately:

He will not be able to sustain it. It’s unfortunate for him and one does empathize with him for it since had he been age 26 then personally I would pick him v Novak any and everywhere but as things are in 2014:

Novak in 2, likely 7-5 6-4 is my pick.


A Tango Lad Says:

Hopp Roger!


skeezer Says:

“For me, it was important also probably not to be out there for three hours. Then it would have been a disadvantage. But I think we’re back on even terms for tomorrow.”

This never was an issue with Fed in the earlier years. Playing one 3 hour match and coming back the next day to play?
Fed, your age is showing…..


Purcell Says:

Whatever the outcome and despite the risk of heart failure when enduring some of his more difficult moments, it’s been great to see Fed back on court with his fabulous shot making and incredible movement. He assures us he’s well and I agree he’s looking very fine indeed.


A Tango Lad Says:

Like the great man said himself at the beginning of the week, he is nearing his best!

Watch out Djokovic!


queen Says:

Buahahahaha Fed fans r nuts. A Tango Lad what planet r u from??


Kimberly Says:

Looking forward to this match with gulbis dimitrov now


skeezer Says:

kimberly,
You’re up late! Watching it also…4-4


skeezer Says:

Wild Thing takes the 1rst, looks confident atm.


skeezer Says:

Is it my tv or are the lights on the court sh!tty?
Wow Grigor comes out in the 2nd, pronmtly breaks Gulbis and holds to go up 2-0, quite the turn around…


Michael Says:

Roger Vs Novak should be a humdinger of a match. Really waiting with bated breath to see the showdown between two of my favourite players. In my opinion, Novak should take this in three with two tough sets.


Margot Says:

Soooo glad I missed Andy’s match, sounds a right mare.
Soooo glad Dimi won. Gulbis looked absolutely knackered at the end and collapsed in his last service game.
Another Gulbis melt down in the tie too. What’s new?


Nirmal Kumar Says:

I’m thinking Roger can take this one. He may not be playing as good as he was in 2012, but his level is definitely better than last year.

Would be an interesting match, if Roger can get advantage in his serves.


the DA Says:

@Margot – I wish I had missed it too. Simon played fantastically in the first set but Andy had so many UFEs. It was quite the murraycoaster. A bit much to bear in the wee hours of the morning. He needs to be alert from the first ball tonight otherwise Dimi will run away with it. It’s not giving me much confidence for IW & Miami.

#sigh


Hippy Chic Says:

Although i like both players,niether are my favorites so i would be able to watch this one and enjoy from a neutral point of view,thats if i wasnt working so ill record it and watch it when i get home,i think Novak needs this title after the dissapointment of the AO,he will want to make a statement ahead of the FO IMO,i would like to see Roger take this one,but i feel Novak is just too good and Roger will indeed be lucky to keep it close.


Giles Says:

What statement is that Alison? Rafa just won in Rio. Perhaps he is also trying to make a statement seeing as his win was on clay and Dubai is on HC.


jatin Says:

OFF TOPIC
tennis will have Indian premeir league style of league soon.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/tennis/10661316/Tension-rises-over-International-Premier-Tennis-League-revolution.html
The inaugural player auction for International Premier Tennis League is due to take place this weekend with reports suggesting Rafael Nadal is offered $1m per night to take part

Its wonderful in my opinion. The league is set to be played in mumbai, Singapore and other asain countries. It is mahesh bhupati’s idea.

I am actually pretty excited about it as Indian premier league is superhit in my coutry. And just look at the amount of money Rafa is going to get in one night. WOW
Unfortuanly fed had shown no interest. I wish I could see him ply live atleast once but we have badal hopefully.

What do you guys think about it ?


jatin Says:

^^
Nadal


Hippy Chic Says:

Giles i think you misunderstood me,Rafas not playing this week so im leaving him out of the equation,what i meant was Novak lost at the AO and for the 1st time in a year doesnt actually hold a GS,and im just wondering if his confidence will be knocked?especially too losing at his best GS,as for Rafa well he lost at what was considered his worst GS in the final,but at least he was in contention,and has won two titles this year, and also holds two GS ATM.


Hippy Chic Says:

Jatin thanks for the link,and i agree what a fantastic idea,hope it all comes off,shame Rogers not really interested,maybe he will come around to the idea,but great if they get Rafa on board, as he is the biggest draw in tennis after Roger.


jatin Says:

Happy chic
I am glad you responded. Actually there is another guy working behind the scenes in this project along with mahesh bhupati. And his name is Boris becker.
Fed’s response
“Firstly, I want to see whether it takes off or not. I know a lot of people have invested in it or are part of it. Anywhere where tennis grows is a good thing, so I hope it takes off and becomes very successful.

In Asia, there is enormous potential (for tennis to grow), in places like China and India due to the amount of people that live there and the excitement they have for tennis,” added the Swiss.

It is I think by far the biggest project in tennis. So fingures crossed


jatin Says:

And seems like Roger is interested in visiting Indai one day
“I want to play in India, I want to see the Taj Mahal: Roger Federer
http://www.tennisworldusa.org/I-want-to-play-in-India-I-want-to-see-the-Taj-Mahal-Roger-Federer-articolo16385.html

Would be a dream come true if he play here :)


Purcell Says:

jatin: Sharapova’s and Li Na have opted out but there’s no explanation as to why so far.


the DA Says:

This ITPL venture looks intriguing. The list of names is impressive. Only Fed, Sharapova, Delpo and Li Na missing.

In other news, Ferrer will miss IW and Miami because of the adductor injury he suffered in last night’s match. Such a shame for him. This could impact his season in a big way.

And with Delpo also out until further notice prepare for another shake-up in top 7 rankings.


jatin Says:

Da and purcell
Yup. I got that news. Maybe they have date issues or something. The most interesting thing which i liked about this league is “Legend’s singles”. Means one could see the likes of pete sampras and other legends playing against each other. WOW.
I mean, that’s really look promising and with so much money on cards, i hope it would get maximum media attention( if it plays it eventually ).

As for today’s match. Well, I seriously think roger can win today. He played sublime against rosol. But you never know. Novak is such a incredible fighter


the DA Says:

Yes, Sampras and Agassi have signed up too. I read some more bout the format is this looks like fun:

‘The IPTL was set up by former doubles specialist Mahesh Bhupathi and the matches will be over the best of five sets, with each set to be played in a different format – men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles, mixed doubles and men’s legends.’

Sort of like team tennis, but to the max. Can you imagine some of the doubles pairings? I’d love to see Andy with Serena/Rafa, Nole with Vika and Wawa with Nole. I’d wake up early and find a stream for these.


jatin Says:

Da
Sounds fun. And what if out of nowhere roger too signed up for it and we could actually see rafa and roger in same team. How about doubles. Fans would go gaga over it. LOL

The format has also changed though. No advantages and 5 game matches. Sounds cool and different.


jatin Says:

Meanwhile. Roger’s serve is in trouble


jatin Says:

2-0 novak


skeezer Says:

Wow Nole from the backcourt looks sublime. Great start for the Serb. If this continues it will turn into the “Dud” showdown.


Ben Pronin Says:

Somewhat up and down match for both guys, Djokovic doing just enough to stay in the lead. But some of the points have been absolutely incredible.


jatin Says:

Ben Pronin
+1
Specially that roger’s magic in final game of 1st set


Vinod Says:

Incredible Match !!!


Ben Pronin Says:

MMT, Federer says you’re overanalyzing things ;)


Vinod Says:

rain at 0-30 :( OMG


jatin Says:

Roger is playing quite well but the problem is that these top guys (Novak, Rafa) are younger and a notch better than him now….The way he is playing the 2nd set still shows the ability in this old man :) Go Roger


Translated Age Says:

Djokovic’s body language swinging from looking bored to incredibly tight.

At least he hired Becker for the right reason but not sure I agree with the hire itself/

Does not do the favourite role well.

Many good points mixed with sloppy ones.

If Nole loses this, Boris will be gone before the French Open.


Vinod Says:

FED breaks !!! Game on :)


jatin Says:

Wow. Roger is showing his class. I am loving it


Vinod Says:

3 rd set coming up


van orten Says:

the biggest danger will be in the third set for roger..: his first service game or his first service game after wasting break points


Nirmal Kumar Says:

Between these 2, first set has been very crucial. Most of the time, winner of the first set had won the match. Looking at Roger, if he can return well, he can take this match.


Ben Pronin Says:

Interestingly, Federer has never beaten Djokovic after dropping the first set. But he’s got as good a chance as any to do it today.


jatin Says:

fed breaks


van orten Says:

well at least he broke. this is far from over. but people should realize that a bit of luck could help roger here to boost his entire confidence skyhigh


Ben Pronin Says:

Djokovic says he brought Becker in to imporve his mental game. Maybe he should just see a professional sports psychologist.


jatin Says:

Roger save 2 break points against novak. Am i daydreaming or what. He is playing amazing


Okiegal Says:

All Roger has to do is hold serve. Can he do it?? I think he can! If he does win……I called this one all wrong We will see.


van orten Says:

do not be so harsh. he plays great today but roger too. do not expect roger just to lose vs djoker 6:1 6:1


Nirmal Kumar Says:

Maybe too early to break. With a great returner like Novak, it’s always better to break at the end of the set. Hope Roger can play clutch now.


van orten Says:

i think the most difficult thing to do is play clutch tennis vs nole . he gets in his returning zone it gets very difficult


Ben Pronin Says:

Djokovic is just hitting the ball as hard as he can without any thought. You can’t beat Federer with mindless ball bashing.


Translated Age Says:

This match is all about belief. Fed has it. Nole doesn’t.

HC and Margot were right after all.

Nole will be a good loser at the net.


Vinod Says:

What a point !!!


jatin Says:

WOW ROGER JUST WOW


Ben Pronin Says:

Djokovic’s body language is horrible. What is the deal?


Translated Age Says:

The difference between Good and Great.


Okiegal Says:

Boris Becker looks very tense……wonder what’s going through his mind about now??


van orten Says:

relax djoker fans,. it is not over yet


Humble Rafa Says:

oris Becker looks very tense……wonder what’s going through his mind about now??

Egg Lover’s fiance looks pretty good. That’s what he is thinking.


van orten Says:

it was about damn time fed gets the better off djoker again.


Ben Pronin Says:

As great of a win as this is, Federer has to take care of Berdych tomorrow. I still think Berdych will win but Federer needs tomorrow’s title to validate his great play. He’s lost a few too many finals recently.


van orten Says:

still a huge possibilty for djoker to win this


Vinod Says:

Great win !!! Enjoying the moment


Humble Rafa Says:

My boetch has done it. Makes me proud.


Polo Says:

I know Federer is a great player but what’s happening with Djokovic?


gannu Says:

Finally. .feddy bear well done… u playd well


steve-o Says:

Yay Roger!


Nirmal Kumar Says:

Roger just played clutch and some great shotmaking. It’s been quite some time to have seen him play this well. Berdych is a tough opponent. Hope Roger continues his good form.

Second serve would be key for Roger against Berdych.


van orten Says:

berdych causes problems to roger .. but what people seem to forget..roger causes problems to berdych as well. so fed plays normal form i think he is clearly the better player. there is no room for discussion there.


nitesh Says:

Djokovic looses again not defending his last year points nadal must be smiling @ home


Polo Says:

Federer may have a better chance of beating Berydch in a final because Thomas does not have a good winning record in tournament finals. But if Thomas wins and beats Federer, this may turn out to be a good breakthrough for him. Good luck to both. I would be happy with whoever wins. But, of course, happier if it’s Roger!


steve-o Says:

Federer was not playing nearly this well last year and he was still one point away from downing Berdych…if he can maintain this level, things are looking good for Sunday!


Okiegal Says:

@HR

No, I don’t believe he is thinking about a woman, if so, he would be smiling……and he is far from having a smile on his face!! lol


MMT Says:

I’m sorry, but what’s all this about, “Roger’s problem is his age”? In a one-off situation, any player can play well and beat another younger, stronger, and more dynamic player. The history of tennis is replete with old guys getting it done over a short period of time.

And this business about “belief” and “body language” and, god forbid, a sports psychologist? I just can’t believe it. I’m not saying I thought Federer would win, but I’m quite certain he didn’t win because he believed he would win – what in the world does that have to do with it?

Well, Becker had a couple of weeks to work with Novak before Dubai,Indian Wells and Miami. It will be interesting to see if he’s “learned” him anything…I mean ANYTHING.


jatin Says:

What a sweet victory! And i was right, this is his first victory against Novak after losing the 1st set. Looks like Roger was serious when he said his best tennis is round the corner.


MMT Says:

“Ben Pronin Says:
As great of a win as this is, Federer has to take care of Berdych tomorrow. I still think Berdych will win but Federer needs tomorrow’s title to validate his great play. He’s lost a few too many finals recently.”

http://tennis-column.blogspot.com/2012/11/sugar-ray-roger.html


Brando Says:

Wow:

Take a bow RF, take a bow!

Age 32 and he beats Novak in his prime from behind- bravo!

I thought he would lose the match as stated above since a physical contest does not suit him at his age but as I also said:

Novak’s game does not really bother Fed that much at all. Sure he’s up against a excellent player but is he up against one that ruffles him? Not so IMHO.

The matchup is a good one for him to be sure.

He need’s to beat Berdych now though to really make a statement. Great win for him and his fans but there still is work to do.


Brando Says:

As for Novak:

Well what can be said?

He takes a loss to Wawrinka at AO, and now to Fed here.

2 close matches and he takes the loss.

He hired Boris publicly saying that he’s looking for that bit extra mentally and considering his 2 losses so far this year:

I feel he’s not solid on the mental front right now.

With all due respect, he ought to be beating Fed right now. Novak’s a top player at his peak, Fed is a legend aged 32 in the twilight of his career. No 2 ways about it: there should only be one winner.

This loss is not a good one for Novak and makes IW/MI even more important for him but at the same time more pressure ridden.

It’s strange that after so many, many years the story with him is the same:

Game wise: As good as any.

Mentally: ??????????????


squirrel Says:

“It’s strange that after so many, many years the story with him is the same:

Game wise: As good as any.

Mentally: ??????????????”

I don’t really agree, I always thought he had great mentak aspect. Before, it was the fit/stamina issue and I think only recently he’s developed this poor mental aspect, obviously because of his losses to Nadal in my opinion. Hope he comes back though,he’s too good of a player to stay this way…


squirrel Says:

*mental


Ben Pronin Says:

Novak played dumb in the final set. Wasn’t physical, just poor decisions over and over. Federer took full advantage.


Translated Age Says:

Novak played dumb the whole match whereas Roger played dumb only in the second game of the first set.

Body language said it all even when he was winning the first set.

It’s all between the ears. For both players.


Angel Says:

Novak should be ashame of him self. No more need to be comment…


Gordo Says:

It seems love of the game goes a long way towards keeping engaged in wanting to improve.

A few years ago a draw for a Masters 1000 or Grand Slam event would come out, and the big question mark was where the number 3 – then often Djokovic or Murray – would be slotted.

With his improved play over the past 5 months and his willingness to still adjust his game, Roger Federer – the 8th seed in the world for a while yet – is now going to be one who is going to be dreaded by opponents, seeing him in their quarter.


Giles Says:

Geez!! Faderer fans are really getting carried away. Calm down, calm down. It’s a very loooong season!


Translated Age Says:

Federer is fourth in the Race to London.

First time since 2006 that Novak has failed to make a final before March.

Long live Fedal!


Okiegal Says:

Age is only a number……as Roger proved today! Maybe Novak is in a mental slump…..happens to athletes all the time…..not a tragedy, he’ll be back!! Good luck to the Jolly Roger……..He was smiling today!!


madmax Says:

Brando Says:
No dog in this fight (as the expression goes) so my pick is:

Djokovic in 2.

Fed does not really have a matchup issue with Novak or does his game overly bother him. After all: he was the one who beat Novak at his prime, unbeaten streak within 4 sets.

But the problem for Fed here is: age.

Fed’s 32 whilst Novak is 26: that 6 year gap is huge between them.

Brando Says:
Wow:

Take a bow RF, take a bow!

Age 32 and he beats Novak in his prime from behind- bravo!

I thought he would lose the match as stated above since a physical contest does not suit him at his age but as I also said:

It’s not all about age Brando!

Did you see the match? It was awesome.

Let’s see Fed continue with this great streak.

Giles. Please, calm down yourself!


madmax Says:

What a thoroughly enjoyable match. Fantastic.

Just terrific!

Top story: Djokovic v Murray Halloween Friday In Paris; Raonic, Ferrer Fighting For Final London Berth
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Rankings
ATP - Oct 27 WTA - Oct 27
1 Novak Djokovic1 Serena Williams
2 Roger Federer2 Maria Sharapova
3 Rafael Nadal3 Simona Halep
4 Stan Wawrinka4 Petra Kvitova
5 Tomas Berdych5 Ana Ivanovic
6 David Ferrer6 Agnieszka Radwanska
7 Kei Nishikori7 Eugenie Bouchard
8 Andy Murray8 Caroline Wozniacki
9 Marin Cilic9 Na Li
10 Milos Raonic10 Angelique Kerber
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