World number one Novak Djokovic is on a collision course with Roger Federer once again as the pair look set to meet in Sunday’s US Open final. Incredibly, it will be the sixth time that the duo have played each other in a tournament final this year.
Cementing their positions as the two best tennis players on the planet right now, both Djokovic and Federer have enjoyed serene progress through the tournament so far.
Djokovic has seen off Joao Souza, Andreas Haider-Maurer and Andreas Seppi in straight sets, whilst dropping a set to Roberto Bautista-Agut and Feliciano Lopez respectively. He still won both of those matches comfortably, however.
Federer’s progress has been even easier – he’s hasn’t even dropped a set yet, and appears to be playing as well as he’s ever done. Seeing off the huge-serving John Isner in the last 16 was a massive bonus for the world number three, and he completely outclassed Wimbledon semi-finalist Richard Gasquet in their last eight meeting. Early victories over Leonardo Mayer, Steve Darcis and Phillip Kohlschreiber were regulation.
In the semi-finals, Djokovic will meet Marin Cilic – a player he has beaten in all 13 of their meetings to date, and Federer faces Stan Wawrinka in an all Swiss final four shootout.
Remarkably, this will be the sixth time that the pair have met in a final this calendar year, and the seventeenth in all. Of their 2015 encounters, Djokovic has won three – including the Wimbledon final in July, although Federer won their last meeting at the Cincinnati Masters.
In all they have met 41 times, with Djokovic claiming 21 victories and Federer 20. And that closeness in ability between the two highlights just why the US Open final – presuming the pair win their respective semi-finals – will be such a spectacle.
For the Serb it would be the third Grand Slam triumph of another fantastic year, although – perhaps crucially – he hasn’t lifted the trophy at Flushing Meadows since 2011; a relative lifetime in the world of the nine-time major winner.
In truth, you have to go back even further than that to find Federer’s last US Open title victory: the 2008 event, which he won with a straight sets triumph over Andy Murray. The Swiss star hasn’t won a Grand Slam event since Wimbledon in 2012, and with many observers questioning the 34-year-old’s ability to last the pace of a two-week major, perhaps Djokovic would enter the match as the favourite.
The bookmakers certainly think so: you can back him from as short as 1.80 to lift the trophy. But if you fancy Federer, then you can back him to take his 18th Grand Slam title from 2.88. Either way, if these two collide in the final we are in for a great match.
By: Craig Simpkin