Novak Djokovic v Roger Federer Australian Open SF, Who’s The Pick?
by Sean Randall | January 29th, 2020, 11:53 pm

Tonight in Melbourne, it’s the 50th chapter between Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic for a spot in the Australian Open title match. In the Friday night semifinal, Alexander Zverev and Dominic Thiem will battle for the right to play one of these legends.

So we got four Top 8 players in the semis and of course either Djokovic or Federer will again be in the final against a new finalist.

Backing up, in a mild surprise last night Thiem took apart Nadal. Thiem simply out-muscled Rafa who, on hard courts, continues to get caught in bad court positioning and the Austrian made him pay. Rafa also still has those struggles closing out sets, closing out matches. If he serves out that first set, I think he wins. He didn’t, then failed in the second and then the climb was too great. He also was miserable on serve in the breakers. At 33, the clock is ticking and don’t see him getting this title again.

As for Federer, the guy is basically Houdini. Somehow he clawed from 8-4 down in that final set breaker to beat John Millman. Then the seven match points he saved was incredible. Roger’s got nine lives, does he have any more?

Djokovic has looked the best of any of the men. He dropped that set to Jan-Lennard Struff, had some eye problems against Milos Raonic, but otherwise he has played as advertised.

The big surprise of the tournament has been Alexander Zverev who has quickly fixed his serving woes in a blink. It’s been a long time coming, but after two very solid wins over Andrey Rublev and Stan Wawrinka, he’s finally in his first Grand Slam semifinal which good chance to go deeper. Just an amazing turnaround for the 22-year-old.

Other things I noticed was that Nick Kyrgios is an absolute marvel. Like a Marvel super hero. I know he’s in Rafa’s head, but he played exceptionally well, hanging toe-to-toe off the ground with the world No. 1, and that’s after a 5-set win over Karen Khachanov. Now imagine if he had a good coach, some discipline and regimented training.

Daniil Medvedev hasn’t won a 5-set match (0-6 I think he is now) and that’s going to be a problem. I can’t remember the last time someone won a Grand Slam or got to No. 1 with such a poor record in five set matches. And if he keeps losing them – I guess he won’t have to play another one before the French – that’s going to be a serious mental hurdle to overcome.

Among the disappointments, the young Canadians, Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime, are the top of the list. It was Milos Raonic instead getting the attention, reminding everyone who the man up North really is. My semifinal pick Borna Coric was also a bust. He was was gone in the first round by Sam Querrey. But that quarter did blow up, and who would have believed that Sandgren had seven chances to be the one to get through.

And of course we’ve had so many long matches, so many final set tiebreakers. And I agree with most, the 10-point breaker is awesome! I hope other Slams adopt the rule.

On to our first semifinal.

Novak Djokovic v Roger Federer
The good news for Roger Federer is that if he wins tonight, he’ll have two full days to rest of the final. The bad news is that he’ll have to beat Novak Djokovic. And based on all his tennis he’s played and this new groin issue, Roger’s going to have a lot more than two days to rest.

Federer survived Millman, survived Sangdren but I don’t see him surviving a fresh, fit Djokovic who is just six sets from more history.

Stranger things have happened, but even a healthy Federer might not get over the Djokovic hurdle. Roger did just beat Federer last November, but that’s a quick court, indoors, and best-of-3 with not at much on the line.

Rod Laver Arena is Novak’s favorite court, where he plays his best, so I expect his best tonight.

Federer will have to serve really well and go for broke. That means unloading off both sides. He won’t want to get into long rallies or long games. Just attack, attack, attack. A Hyper-aggressive attitude. Get the crowd involved and make Novak think a little.
But money doesn’t buy everything and it’s tough to see Federer buying a win tonight.
The Pick: Djokovic in three

You Might Like:
Poll: Who’s Your Pick To Win The 2015 Australian Open?
Poll: Who’s Your Early 2016 Australian Open Favorite? Can Anyone Beat Novak Djokovic?
Poll: Who’s Your Early Favorite To Win The 2014 Australian Open? Djokovic, Nadal Or…
Andy Murray v Milos Raonic Australian Open Semifinal, Who’s The Pick?
Who’s The French Open Favorite? Roger Federer Says It’s Still Rafael Nadal

Don't miss any tennis action, stay connected with Tennis-X

Get the FREE TX daily newsletter

51 Comments for Novak Djokovic v Roger Federer Australian Open SF, Who’s The Pick?

jatin Says:

Just one thing to add.
Never ever count out Fed. He is like a wounded animal right now and knew he isn’t supposed to be in this round anyway.
Expect fed to play FREELY without expecting much. Kind of like how he played against Rafa in 2017 5th set.

Whatever the scoreline is, I don’t think this match would get over in 3 straight sets.

Madmax Says:

Hi Jatin, Skeezer,

I don’t think anyone expects Federer to win. But you know what? That’s okay. The way he has pulled through, those 7 match points – the comments by Sean, he shouldn’t really be in this tournament, but he is because he is a fighter and because he didn’t blink – as Jim Courier said, “Roger, you are unbelievable, I’ve never seen anyone do the things like you do, on court.” So, I will enjoy the match with no expectations – with a full heart knowing that Roger clawed back two previous matches and he is still here. He will come out fighting and that’s all we can ask of him.

He doesn’t care about the comments, he just wants to play and to win. As long as he is in the tournament, he has a chance, slim though it is with Novak playing as great as he has.

Federer is battle tested though, so let’s see.

Hope it’s a great match.

FedExpress Says:

Rumours that he had a tape on when he practiced

FedExpress Says:

Kudos for playing.

But doesnt look any good

FedExpress Says:

4 deuces, couoke of BPs saved, 3 aces, 200 km/h serves. Adventurous start.

But service game hold. Its gonna be tough thoigh

FedExpress Says:

Federer somehow breaks. lol

FedExpress Says:

Sadly Nole breaks back

Daniel Says:

Damm, they are in 4th game and Federer already has 11 winners.

Both tense on serve still. BP Fed

Daniel Says:

Fed is just 2/9 on second serves, that won’t cut long term, he needs to win more points there. But he almost aced this last game and somehow is 4-1 up.

Djoko has yet to hold serve, this can play a mental aspect on him.

Fed needed this boost early on.

Daniel Says:

Fed missing a sitter FH on third BP after net cord to go a double break up. 40-40

But he is in super aggressive mode (16 winners) doesn’t want to play long points at all. His returns are spot on

FedExpress Says:


Break up but these missed triple BPs wont forgive I feel

FedExpress Says:

5-2 Serve on spot now

Hopefully when he needs it most he gets it right

Daniel Says:

Djoko trouble on serve again. Fed go for broke approach even when missing not giving any rhytm to Djoko.

Fed serving for 1st set

FedExpress Says:

Moment of truth arrived.

Big big service game coming up for Fed

Daniel Says:

No serves this game and not winning 2nd serves points at all (2/17) gets broken. He will just have to rely entirely on 1st serve

Djoko serving 4-5.

FedExpress Says:

Ship has sailed I suppose

those 3 missed Bps were big

FedExpress Says:

2008 vibes of their clash

Daniel Says:

Indeed, until 4-1 0-40 it was all going Federer’s way. Djoko saved that game and Fed had 0-30 when Djoko serve 2-5 also.

FedExpress Says:

To restart and refresh is now tougher than if he had lost the set without drama.

Daniel Says:

Saved 2 BPs with 2nd serves were crucial, at least tiebreak guarantee.

Djoko lost 1st point in all his service games. Let’s see if Fed can do something more and pressure. Djoko to serve 5-6 to force a breaker.

FedExpress Says:

Again hope. But will it be crushed again?

van orten Says:

the Tennis gods always seem to come for rescue djokovic.. 26:6 winners?! And djoker still teaches the breaker .. unfortunately in nowadays Tennis the less risky game gets rewarded in the end … incredible mental thing that is goin on .. fed has the Uber – game to beat djokovic but comes always short

Navdeep Says:

2011 French open final. That time fed has the mental block against Rafa now he has against Nole.

FedExpress Says:

4th straight breaker lost vs Nole. Nole is in his head.

walkover should have been better.

Daniel Says:

Wow, what last 2 shots by Djoko to nail the coffin.

As you said FedEx, nid!

Indeed, that 4-1 triple BP cost him the set. Set was going fast, the way Fed liked. Djoko getting better and better. Should do it in 3 and sets now.

Fed getting medical timeout in locker again. 1 hour set the worst scenario for him. He will just play for formality now, making a few games per set.

FedExpress Says:

Expecting 2 clean set wins by Nole to end this misery.

Worse than having no hopes are crushing hopes

Van orten Says:

I cannot be more disappointed.. 25:5 winners and still losing the set .. what is goin on with modern tennis .. Jesus triple bp to win the set easily and still he loses .. believe whatever you want djokovic fans .. but that is the reason everyone loves Federer except for a few in that rod laver arena right now

van orten Says:

Hahahaha cry as much you as you want djoker .. but no one is for you in this stadium

FedExpress Says:

Sad. he could have really won the match. Its all mental.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Just woke up fpr the third set. Fed looks awful. Slow, not wanting to change directions, and lots of errors. Novak just embarrassing him.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Remember when Novak’s serve was a liability? We need Todd Martin back!

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Is this the turning point in Federers history?

FedExpress Says:

This is why one should watch the match as a whole, Vagabond

van orten Says:

I hope nobody will come with the excuse he was injured or tired or old .. it’s mental !!! Nothing else

FedExpress Says:

Good effort Fed. Had big chances to win the 1st set and should have. And didnt give up in the next two.

Wog Boy Says:

27 : 23
11 : 6 in GS matches

Nice and tidy match by Nole.

jatin Says:

Well played Novak, You deserved it. 8th Aussie open incoming.

About Fed
Proud of his efforts today despite being hampered. Loved the way he played for the first 30 minutes with breathtaking tennis.
Didn’t gave up even in last 2 sets.
No retirements, No withdraws, Nothing even in the age when he has no obligation to even play anymore.
How can you not love this guy.
This tournament has made me feel even PROUDER being a Roger Federer fan.

One of my FAVOURITE tournaments ever.

Wog Boy Says:

“ Hahahaha cry as much you as you want djoker .. but no one is for you in this stadium”

Are you all right Van Cryen?!

fred stones Says:

Djoker is such a hypocrite. Post-match interview with Courrier says “..great respect for Roger coming out when he’s obviously hurt…”
But, after the last point, wags his finger, pounds his chest and a victory scream (as if it was a hard-contested match)dispels that “respect”.
Typical Serb asshat reaction.
Love to see Thiem or Zverev clean his clock.

Alison Hodge Says:

Tennis Vagabond i would hazard a guess that both Rafa and Novak will surpass Federers GS tally, i dont know if that makers either GOAT and i dont really care, i just think both will overtake him, i think his best chance of another GS would be at SW 19, thats to put more distance between him and the other two, and / or a favour from a newbie, like Zverev or Thiem winning here . my two cents ….

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Alison, IF Novak wins here’s he’ll be three slams behind Fed, and world #1. I would say there’s at least a 50/50 chance he’ll overtake Fed’s slam count AND weeks at #1. With winning records against Rafa and Fed. And most Masters. And achieving the NC Grand Slam…. IF he does those things, I think he will put to rest any argument as GOAT.

He has current mastery over Fed, and will be favoured over Rafa anywhere but clay, where he still has a great shot. Who can stop him? Medvedev, Wawrinka, Zverev, THiem, Shapovalov, Tsitsipas, Auger-Aliasime… certainly none have shown they are ready YET, to do so on a consistent basis. So if Novak retakes #1, he may hang on to it quite a while.

van orten Says:

So what .. he is not loved

van orten Says:

Your arrogance will be your downfall

skeezer Says:

Props to Fed for giving it a go and showing up. Other top players in the past have w/d or retired mid match. We know who they are. He still displayed mastery this tournament when he was not hampered. Still the very best player to watch, his playing style and effort demands and attracts attention at the same time.
But, alas, this is tennis and being in top condition is always a requirement to win.
Congrats to Djoker and his plant based diet.
Prediction complete.

Alison Hodge Says:

Tennis Vagabond all true, although personally ive nothing invested in GOAT personally though, so ill leave that to the rest lol ….

Van Orton dont be such a sore loser, whether or not Novak will win any popularity contests is neither here nor there,so what , i doubt he cares , its GS and tournaments players want to win, anyhow from what i heard there was plenty of cheering for Nole ….

fred stones Says:

@van orten
You can add hypocrisy to his arrogance.
He “says” he respects Fed as he was “obviously hurt…”.
After match point waving the finger, chest-pounding and screaming does ‘not’ show respect for an ailing opponent.
Djerkovic, a more appropriate nickname.

Madmax Says:

Proud of Roger.

Well done champ for playing some AWESOME tennis this tournament.

Could not have asked for more. Proud he put up the fight. Great fighter.

Well done to Nole. Good luck for the final now on Sunday!

Madmax Says:

Wogboy, what are you doing supporting Nole again? You are no friend or fan of his.

Fairweather fan. In it for the riches, but never the rough rides.

Proud of Roger. He was well enough to play and no expectations of him winning, but boy, I was proud of the way he fought, never gave up – in the tightest of moments, he played freely.

Roger rocks.

j-kath Says:

For me, the coverage of the Tennis is on BBC and length is cut to 1 hour – no matter length of match. I did think Novak was the superior player. As for Roger, he looks good in terms of having slimmed down which is a plus and he still has many WOW moments. He is still capable of beating 80% of all current players – but I doubt that’s the extent of his ambition. He wants to win – why not? – however, he should be justifiably proud of his career – but I doubt he will simply hang on beyond Wimbledon and the Olympics.

Truth Says:

Fed fans talk about arrogance? Fraud and his elves were so happy every time Novak was injured
Go a river! Muhahahah🔥🔥🔥🔥

Top story: Nadal Fights Into The Australian Open 3R; Medvedev v Kyrgios Tonight