In a match hampered by swirling winds, Novak Djokovic grinded out a 6-4, 7-5, 6-3 win over Roger Federer in the 2012 French Open men's semifinals. This match may not have been of the quality of past meetings, but Djokovic did what Djokovic typically does: he found a way to win. He adapted better to the iffy conditions while Federer committed almost 50 errors, an obviously awful total for a three-set match.
Is Djokovic Doing Something With His First Serve?
For most of the match, yes. Djokovic won 83 percent of his first-serve points in the first set and, after losing his way in the second (56 percent), controlled the tempo again in the third (88 percent). Federer did still earn more break points (10 to Djokovic's eight), but Djokovic won more easy points and dictated most of the play in the iffy conditions.
Who Wins The First Set?
Federer blew an early break and fell, 6-4. Facing quite a hill to climb at that point, he broke quickly in the second set and led most of the way, but Djokovic won the final four games and stole the set, 7-5. The third set, then, was mostly a formality.
The question now is, what chance does Djokovic have of taking out a smoking hot Rafael Nadal? Nadal has never looked more dominant at Roland Garros, while Djokovic has battled form issues for much of the tournament. Then again, considering the conditions, this was probably his most impressive match of the fortnight, so perhaps he is rounding into shape just in time.
You can see a full French Open scoreboard at SI.com.
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