Originally written on The Sports Headquarters  |  Last updated 6/6/12

Novak Djokovic vs Roger Federer

Well, it’s the semifinal that we all expected, but it sure didn’t look like we’d get it while watching the quarterfinals. Federer was down 2 sets to 0 and really looked out of it against Juan Martin Del Potro while Djokovic had to save 4 match points against an inspired Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. We all remember last year, of course, where Federer became the first person to beat Djokovic on the season and broke his 43-match winning streak. Federer has lost their two meetings since then, most recently in straight sets in the Rome quarterfinal. Of course, Federer is always much better in the Slams than anywhere else.

Honestly, though, Federer has not been so impressive this tournament. He dropped a set to each of three poor players and was being easily beaten by Del Potro before the Argentine’s serve started failing him a bit. Djokovic has had his blips as well this tournament, but his five-setter in the last round wasn’t one of them. He and Tsonga played a match (or at least the fourth set of it) that was the highest level of tennis produced by anyone in the past few years, at the very least.

It’s foolish to ever count Federer out. We all know that if he produces his top level of tennis that he can beat anyone-as he evidenced in the semifinals here against Djokovic last year. Still, Djokovic has been able to produce an unreal level of tennis in the past two years and is playing at a higher level much more consistently than Federer at the moment.
Prediction: Djokovic in 4

Rafael Nadal vs David Ferrer

This has been nothing like last year where Nadal really started out the tournament off a little and played his way into it. Rafa has been fairly dominant from day one. Nicolas Almagro gave him a great fight in the quarterfinals but still couldn’t take a set off of him. This is Rafa’s surface, and he is nearly unbeatable on it.

Ferrer has also done very well this tournament, though he struggled a bit against Andy Murray in his quarterfinal match. Ferrer had not been at all tested yes this tournament, and you have to wonder if that left him a little unprepared for his first real, tough match. Still, Ferrer outworked Murray and really beat him at his own game, grinding out long points until Murray would eventually hit the error going for too much.

These two have an interesting dynamic. Nadal has a 15-4 head-to-head record against Ferrer, but Ferrer has won two of their three meetings in Grand Slams. The first was in the 2007 US Open and most recently Ferrer beat an obviously injured Nadal at the Australian Open last year. However, Ferrer has not beaten Nadal on clay since their very first meeting-in Stuttgart back in 2004. Unfortunately for Ferrer, Nadal plays a very similar style. Both Spaniards retrieve a lot of shots and force their opponents into hitting errors, or they wait for any opening as they are two of the world’s best at hitting winners when there is very little room to him them. However, Nadal is just much better than Ferrer and has more power, especially on clay. Ferrer also doesn’t have the straight-up power that Almagro has and used to trouble Nadal. It’s hard to think that Ferrer can beat a healthy Nadal on any surface, even at his current high level, but certainly not on clay.
Prediction: Nadal in 3

For my women’s semifinals preview, please click here.

For up-to-the-second thoughts and comments, follow on Twitter at twitter.com/yesh222tshq

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