Federer relishing challenge against Djokovic

Five-time US Open champion Roger Federer is relishing the biggest challenge in men's tennis -- derailing the Novak Djokovic express.

Updated: September 10, 2011 09:42 IST
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New York: Five-time US Open champion Roger Federer is relishing the biggest challenge in men's tennis -- derailing the Novak Djokovic express.

The 30-year-old holder of a record 16 Grand Slam titles has every right to be confident going into Saturday's showdown.

Federer's French Open semi-final victory over the world number one in June brought an end to the Serb's stunning 43-match winning run, a streak which stretched back to December 2010 when he led his country to a maiden Davis Cup.

Despite Djokovic having lost just one further time, a total of 62 wins in his landmark year, the Swiss star believes he has the weapons to repeat his Roland Garros heroics.

"It's pretty straightforward. I think we're both going to play aggressive. He's moving well. He's probably taken his game up to a higher level, but mostly in terms of confidence," said Federer.

"But I think when we do play against each other it's always exciting We have great rallies. I like playing against him because it's a battle of the baseline.

"He's been having an amazing season, so it's a challenge right now in the men's game. That's what I like, who I like to play against."

Federer holds a 14-9 winning record over Djokovic and Saturday' semi-final will be the pair's fourth successive meeting at the last-four stage at Flushing Meadows.

Djokovic won last year's clash, saving two match points in a five-set thriller on his way to an eventual runner-up finish against Rafael Nadal.

Federer had won in 2008 and 2009 as well as comfortably seeing off Djokovic in the 2007 final in the days when the Serb was far from the finished product that now dominates the men's game.

Both men have reached this stage with ease, dropping just one set each.

They know each other's games inside-out -- this is their fifth meeting of 2011 and third in a Grand Slam semi-final -- Federer said that there is little to be done in terms of preparation.

"My game right now needs to be good enough to beat him, and same for him. These last two weeks he's had a pretty easy trip to the semis. Me too. I have been very dominant," he said.

"I hope I can take all the confidence I have been able to build here this tournament and use it against Novak. So there are no real secrets out there.

"We have had particularly good matches here at the US Open, and I have the feeling it's going to be something similar again."

Djokovic, who has taken the Australian Open and Wimbledon titles this year, as well as five Masters events, said his only concern was starting too slowly against Federer.

"I think I need to step on the court and just be close to the line, be more aggressive," he said.

"I think the last two matches I have been starting very slow. I'm very passive."

The winner will enjoy Sunday off after the final was pushed back to Monday for a fourth successive year following two days being lost to the schedule due to torrential rain.

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  • Tennis
  • Stanislas Wawrinka
  • Sania Mirza
  • Maria Sharapova
  • Andy Murray
  • Rafael Nadal
  • Bernard Tomic
  • Novak Djokovic
  • Jie Zheng
  • David Ferrer
  • Roger Federer
  • Leander Paes
  • Mahesh Bhupathi
  • Tiger Woods
  • US Open 2011

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