The dominance that the top three stars in the world of men's tennis enjoy will be on show once again, during the semi-finals of the 2012 French Open.
World number one Novak Djokovic will battle world number three Roger Federer in the first of the two high-profile games, after the two were placed in the same side of the draw for the second year running.
The game will be a rematch of last year's semi-final, which the Swiss won 7-6 (5), 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (5) to break Djokovic's record 43-match winning streak. Revenge, rest assured, is certainly on Djokovic's mind.
Federer and Djokovic have played each other 25 times in their careers, with the Swiss winning 14 of them. Their first meeting was back in 2007 at Monte Carlo, which saw Federer winning in straight sets.
Since then, their fortunes have reversed, with Djokovic winning four of the last five majors and the Serbian will want to add the French Open to that list; particularly after losing to Federer last year. Their most recent meeting, also on clay, was in Rome. Djokovic won that in straight sets as well, 6-2, 7-6 (4) so he will look to draw on that mental edge.
Nevertheless, it has not been plain sailing for Djokovic so far, with close games in the Fourth Round and again in the quarterfinals - on any other day he would probably have lost one of those games. Andreas Seppi, the 22nd seed, stretched him to five sets in the Fourth Round and will feel he should have claimed the Serbian's scalp, particularly since he was up by two sets and the fourth set tiebreak was a close run thing. A no doubt tired top seed then had to do it all again in the quarters, facing Frenchman and fifth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. The local boy scared Djokovic no end when he won the second and third sets to respond to losing the first one 1-6. However, in the end, he could not keep the momentum going and lost 1-6, 7-5, 7-5, 7(8)-6, 6-1.
Meanwhile, Roger Federer hasn't had an easy time either. The Swiss had his back to the wall in the quarterfinals, when number nine side Juan Martin del Potro won the first two sets against the veteran. However, the Argentine ran out of gas soon after and Federer went through 3-6, 6(4)-7, 6-2, 6-0, 6-3. The 30 year old also dropped sets in each of the three rounds before but did manage to retain some element of control throughout, which does not bode well for Djokovic.
Prediction: Djokovic in Five
Federer does have history on his side and Djokovic has struggled more (albeit marginally) in recent games. The fact that the latter has played two consecutive five-setters won't help him but expect the world number one to just about sneak through. The motivation of making it to the final and aiming for the one major title still eluding him and his career Grand Slam should be enough. Federer's best bet will be to finish this as quickly as possible; should it go to a fifth, then Djokovic has the ability to shift up a gear and take control.
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