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Federer-Djokovic: Historical Context for Fed Fans

Semi-final Federer Filup

September 11, 2011 | 10:50 AM

I'm among the shrinking minority who don't think Federer's career is quite over, and this isn't an appropriate day for any hand-wringing or In Memoriam for a beloved tennis player who simply hasn't been able to win the big ones in almost 2 years.

Rog is proud of his accomplishments this year, which include being: a Final 4 contender in 3 of 4 majors, a finalist in one, and a quarterfinalist in the other.

How many other men reached even one semis in a Major in 2011?

TWO: Tsonga (Wimbledon); Ferrer (Australia)

Instead, I find myself compiling this list of the most difficult Federer Filups for FedFans to endure -- you may have some others or disagree about the Top 10 order in my list -- I tried to take into account the emotions of the time. Briefly, the tension during the matches varied according to the round of the match and the importance of the tournament, making those losses harder to bear afterwards (so difficult major finals abound). All Major final losses were difficult, but I prioritized them depending on surface and circumstances. Some of his non-major early losses to rival Rafa were difficult - bad omens, hard to swallow.

Remember: As hard as each of these losses may have been on you, most represent the greatest career for his opponents... I don't offer this list to torture FedFans any further, but to promote international healing with perspective: yesterday's loss just misses my top 10 (after 10, why count??).


#10 '05 Masters Shanghai to Nalbandian - Darn Argentine! [6-7, 6-7, 6-2, 6-1, 7-6 (3)]

Comment: Nemesis foils a heroic 5th set effort to win despite injury

#9 '10 Open Semis to Joker - Make My Day? (Rafa) [7-5, 1-6, 7-5, 2-6, 7-5]

Comment: So close to winning in final set (2 points), chance lost to stop rival's 3 major run

#8 '05 Aust. Open Semis to Safin - Early enough not to feel gravitas of missing great opportunity

to win Major (Hewitt in final awaiting) [5-7, 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 (6), 9-7] Comment: Tough for either

player to lose this classic drama with some of the best tennis ever seen to date

#7 '08 French Final loss to Rafa - Just when we thought it couldn't get any worse... OUCH!

[1, 3 and 0]

#6 '07 French Final to Rafa - History repeating itself: almost identical score to '05 semis L to Rafa

[6-3, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4]

#5 '06 French Final to Rafa - Wake up: our premonitions become reality [1-6, 6-1, 6-4, 7-6]

#4 '06 Rome Final to Rafa - Apres, le deluge [6-7 (0), 7-6 (5), 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (5)]

Comment: Perhaps his last chance to end Rafa's clay domination

#3 '09 Aust Open Final to Rafa - a HARD court loss, his first in a major final

[7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (3), 3-6, 6-2] Comment: Opening the floodgates

#2 '08 Wimb. Final to Rafa - The last stop... GRASS! [6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-7 (8), 9-7]

#1 '09 Open Final to Delpo - NO - NOT THIS!!

[6-2, 6-7 (5), 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-2] Comment: He should not have lost this one to Delpo, period.

More anon about Rafa v Joker tomorrow at 4 (along with a look at today's Serena v Stosur result).


Open '11 Mens Semis #1

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