Here we go again: Can Federer stop Djokovic at Aussie Open?

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THE FINAL FOUR, THURSDAY NIGHT, JAN 28

1-NOVAK DJOKOVIC VS. 3-ROGER FEDERER

Novak Djokovic is the world’s best player everywhere he goes, so despite the fact that the 17-time Grand Slam Roger Federer can beat anyone on a great day, that does not mean that he has been able to stop the Serbian on the hard courts at a Slam since 2009. Yes, since that time, Federer has beaten Djokovic numerous times at various tournaments in two-out-of-three on the hard courts, but that is not the same of three-out-of-five sets.

At the 2009 US Open semifinal at the Arthur Ashe Stadium, when Djokovic was still learning to play, Federer raced around on the somewhat slick surface and won 7-6 7-5 7-5. But in 2010, Djokovic knocked him out in a classic semifinal at the US Open, fighting back a match point with a huge forehand to win 7-5 in the fifth. At the 2011 Australian Open on the hard courts once again, Djokovic out-schooled him 7-6 7-5 6-4. At the 2011 US Open, they did the exactly same thing, running past Federer 7-5 in the fifth. The Swiss was fairly upset, to say the least.

After that, they faced off plenty of times, on the clay, on the grass and on the hard courts, but it wasn’t until the 2016 US Open final, when they finally would clash on the beloved hard courts. Federer had just beaten Djokovic in the Cincinnati final in the two-out-of-three. In New York, Federer was ready to dance, but oops, he went down again, this time in four sets. In three-out-of-five, you cannot hide.

It is raining outside, which means on Thursday night, the roof will be closed and the court will be a bit slower – unless the sun come out and the roof will be opened up. Is Djokovic a little faster? Yes, the 28-year-old is a little quicker than the 34-year-old, so when he’s stretched way out, he still manages to dig it out and find with lines, even when Federer has already attacked the net. Djokovic has significantly improved his forehand and serve over the years, but Federer has improved, too, and he certainly can out-hit him forehand to forehand. But then again, the two-hand backhand Serbian can blow him apart corner to corner.

On the serve, both of them can dominate the box, going wide, into the chest, or on the T. Federer has so many different types of shots: he can chop his backhand, he can roll it over, and he can flat it out. While Djokovic is steadier with his forehand and his backhand, he can twist it around: he can spin heavily, he can move forward like lightning, and he doesn’t mind to chuck in a few drop shots.

Without a doubt, many people are thinking that if Federer goes into the net, that he can unearth Djokovic. But in the 2015 US Open final, the Swiss was unable to go to the net all the time and bother him. Djokovic knew that he was coming and he passed time and time again. It was a fine idea from Federer, but he could trouble him.

That is what will occur tonight on Thursday on Rod Laver. Yes, Federer has played extremely well in the last 10 days, but this is an entire different match up. They have played each other 44 times, which is incredible, and they are locked 22-22. The No.1 Djokovic was pretty shaky to over come Gilles Simon in five sets. He was not perfect in defeating Kei Nishikori, but he was very smart and he did. Now, he is ready to jump on Federer. While Federer will change his tactics a little bit, it is not going to radically change on a hard court it the Australian Open. Djokovic believes he is in control and he will win in four sets.

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