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Never has Roger Federer gone into a tennis match being as severe an underdog as he was in this semifinal at Roland Garros. He was to play Novak Djokovic, who was 41-0 on the year. He had dismissed Rafa on clay in straight sets the last two times they played, so what chance did Federer have?
Once things got underway, Federer came back from a 4-2 deficit and saved two set points to enforce a tiebreak, which he eventually won. Playing easily the best clay-court match of his life, he outplayed Djokovic to take the second set 6-3.
A response was expected from the Serb, and that's exactly what he delivered, taking the third set by the same scoreline. Then the pair produced what is probably the set of the year, with amazing rallies matched by fantastic serving, and brutal aggression countered by stellar defence. The turning point seemed to come when a ball skidded off the line on break point to give Djokovic a chance to serve for the set.
Federer produced what must rank as one of the best defensive games of his career to break back, and then held serve in a gritty game, saving three break points. Djokovic took the score to six-all, but one mini-break carried Roger to three match points. Djokovic added to the drama by saving the first two, before Roger stepped up to the service line, and, fittingly, drilled an ace down the tee to end Novak's remarkable unbeaten streak.