Western & Southern Open 2012: Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic in Must-Win Match

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Western & Southern Open 2012: Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic in Must-Win Match
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Two of the greatest tennis players to ever grace the court will add to their rivalry once again when Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic do battle at the 2012 Western & Southern Open.

Both men are currently looking for redemption following disappointing Olympic performances. Yes, Federer walked away with silver, but he expected gold. Djokovic? He expected to at least medal.

Fed-Ex and The Djoker looked like shells of their normally dominant selves. They were the favorites heading into their respective gold and bronze medal Olympic matches in London, yet both were dominated like we've never seen before.

They were each equally disinterested in their matches, which may have been the most astonishing aspect of their Olympic downfalls. I'm sure you're asking what was the most astonishing outcome if that wasn't it—look no further than both men losing their matches in straight sets! 

Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Now, two weeks later, both men are in must-win situations. This matchup has a lot at stake, not only to try to make amends for their Olympic performances, but to make a statement heading into the U.S. Open next week. 

Both want to head in to the Open as the favorite, but more importantly, both men need to go in to the Open the favorite to ease their mind. They need the momentum, but need the self-assurance even more. The winner will be able to sleep a bit easier over the next week, but the loser will surely be haunted in their dreams by self doubt and constant questions such as "What in the world is going on with me!?"

Fans will expect both men to come on the court calm, cool and collected. It will be mighty interesting to see who budges first, to see which man lets the on-court jitters get the best of them.

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At this point, I have to expect Djokovic to feel the pressure first. After failing to medal at the Olympics, he should be hungrier, but he will also be questioning himself more. He failed to live up to his immense hype after dominating 2011. Federer, however, is more experienced and has suffered more downfalls than Djokovic. He knows better how to bounce back from such letdowns, whereas Djokovic is still learning. 

Luckily for Djokovic, he will still be able to redeem this summer disappointment at the U.S. Open. Federer already locked up a Wimbledon Championship and a silver medal, so he will simply continue his exciting 2012 summer. 

Regardless of the outcome, fans are guaranteed to see one of the best tennis matches of the year. These are the two premier and polarizing players in the world. This will be a close, contested matchup that will further build on what has been a phenomenal year of tennis. 

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