Saturday, April 21, 2018
Sports

Federer, Djokovic in a rare matchup

LONDON — For all their time on the world's biggest stage — Roger Federer in 24 Grand Slam finals and Novak Djokovic in 13 — two of the sport's "Big 4" had met in only one major final before today: Federer won in straight sets at the 2007 U.S. Open.

They renew their rivalry in a championship match at Wimbledon today and equal a Grand Slam record. It's the 12th time they've met in any round of a major, equaling Djokovic's duel with Rafael Nadal in majors.

Federer leads Djokovic 6-5 in Grand Slams, including a win the only other time they've met at Wimbledon, Federer prevailing in four sets in the 2012 semifinals, also the only other time they've met on grass.

The Swiss star holds an 18-16 edge in career matches, though Djokovic has won three of five matches they've played since 2013, including this year on clay at Monte Carlo.

Federer, seeded fourth, makes his first appearance in a Grand Slam final since he won here in 2012, and he has earned it emphatically, dropping just one set in six matches.

TOP RANKING: A victory by Djokovic will return the top-seeded Serbian to the No. 1 ranking for the first time since September of last year, taking over from Nadal. Djokovic first rose to No. 1 when he won his only Wimbledon title in 2011, although he was already guaranteed of securing the top ranking before beating Nadal in the final.

NOT THIS TIME: Defending champion Andy Murray, who lost to Grigor Dimitrov in the quarterfinals, or Nadal, who was beaten by Nick Kyrgios in the fourth round, had been featured in 18 consecutive Grand Slam finals.

DOMINATION CONTINUES: The final matchup guarantees that 36 of the past 38 Grand Slam singles titles have gone to a member of the Big 4: Federer, Djokovic, Murray and Nadal. For trivia buffs, the ones they didn't win: the 2009 U.S. Open (Juan Martin del Potro) and this year's Australian Open (Stan Wawrinka).

ROGER SAYS: "We both like to take charge, especially on quicker courts. (Djokovic) has a wonderful way of either redirecting or taking the ball early, taking pace from the opponent, even generating some of his own. There's not really a safe place you can play into.''

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