Federer vs. Djokovic: Keys to Fed Knocking Nole out of French Open
Neither players enter this match playing at their best. Djokovic has needed two straight five-set thrillers to advance to this point, and Federer needed five sets in his last match.
Still, you expect these two champions to bring their A games for this match. Last year, Federer beat Djokovic 7-6, 6-3, 3-6, 7-6. That win snapped Djokovic's historic streak at 43 matches.
Here is what he needs to do to recapture that magic.
First Serve Accuracy
Who will win this match?
Roger has struggled with his first serve accuracy in recent years. This has left him unusually susceptible on his service games.
For the most part, he has been much better in this regard this season; he is hitting 62 percent of his first serves this year. That said, he has struggled a bit at the French.
Federer will need to find that first-serve touch for this match. Djokovic is one of the game's best returners. He punishes second serves. Federer must avoid getting to that point. He needs to have a strong first serve and take control of points right of the bat.
One of the reasons Federer has had some success against Djokovic when others have not is the fact that he does such a great job of hitting his rallies deep.
This keeps Djokovic on his heels and makes him hit the ball on the rise, where it is much harder to control.
If you give Nole a short shot, he will sit back and punish them down the line. He is deadly with his ground strokes. If Roger can keep his shots on the baseline, Djokovic will not be able to be as aggressive with these shots.
Federer can hit some drop shots for winners when he gets Nole deep, but his focus needs to be on pounding the baseline.
Federer doesn't want to get into a lot of long rallies with Djokovic. Nole is supremely conditioned, and at Federer's age, he is at a disadvantage in the stamina department.
Combine this with Djokovic's impressive mental toughness, and it is best to do away with him as quickly as possible. The longer a match goes, the more likely Djokovic will win it.
This means Federer needs to aggressively seek out winners. This may lead to a few more unforced errors, but the potential gains make the risk worth it.
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