Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Second of Big 2 ousted

Roger Federer’s loss to Novak Djokovic means he won’t be a defending champ in at least one Slam for the first time since ’03.

Getty Images

Roger Federer’s loss to Novak Djokovic means he won’t be a defending champ in at least one Slam for the first time since ’03.

MELBOURNE, Australia — The heavily hyped duel between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will not happen at the Australian Open, opening a rare window for someone else.

Federer, the defending champ, lost to Novak Djokovic 7-6 (7-3), 7-5, 6-4 in the semifinals Thursday. It marks the first time since 2008 neither of tennis' most dominant men will play in a Grand Slam final. Less than 24 hours earlier, Nadal's pursuit of his fourth consecutive Grand Slam title ended with a quarterfinal loss to fellow Spaniard David Ferrer.

In Sunday's final, Djokovic, 23, faces Ferrer or Andy Murray, who met early today (for the result, go to

Federer and Nadal have combined to win 21 of the past 23 majors. This is also the first time since 2003 that Federer, a 16-time Grand Slam winner, will not be a defending champion in at least one of the four majors.

It was the second straight time Federer lost to Djokovic. In the other, he had match points before losing in the U.S. Open semifinals.

Djokovic has won one major, the 2008 Australian.

"I had my ups and downs throughout these two, three years," Djokovic said. "But right now I feel like I'm much stronger and more consistent. And I know that I'm more stable, mentally and physically."

Federer fell behind quickly in the first-set tiebreaker on backhand errors, giving Djokovic four set points. In the second set, he let a 5-2 lead slip away.

"Every time I had a slight opportunity, either I didn't play my best or he played his best," Federer said. "It was a tough night from this standpoint. Those are sometimes the way matches go."

Federer, however, saved a parting shot for anyone who believes his time is up and a changing of the guard awaits: "Let's talk in six months."

Women's finalist seeks even more history

Li Na has made history by becoming the first Chinese player to reach a Grand Slam final. That will become a footnote if she can't beat Kim Clijsters.

Li returned to the sport in 2004 after spending two years in college in a media-studies program. She took the rare step of breaking away from the state-run sports system in 2008 and hired her own coach, Thomas Hogstedt. At the end of 2010, she replaced him with her husband, Jiang Shan.

Li, 28, said her biggest strength is mental. "Right now I just feel more happy on the court."

On paper, the outcome appears clear-cut. Clijsters is a year younger and has three U.S. Open trophies among her 40 titles. She is a former No. 1 — now No. 3 — and easily beat No. 2 Vera Zvonareva in Wednesday's semifinal 6-3, 6-3.

Li has won only four titles. But one came against Clijsters two weeks ago in the Sydney International final. She rallied from a 5-0 deficit in the first set to win in straight sets.

"She's playing with, obviously, a lot of confidence. So am I," Clij­sters said. "(The final) should be a good one."

>>Fast Facts


Women: Li Na (9) vs. Kim Clijsters (3), 3:30 a.m. Saturday. TV: ESPN2

Men: Novak Djokovic (3) vs. David Ferrer (7) or Andy Murray (5), 3 a.m. Sunday. TV: ESPN2

Second of Big 2 ousted 01/27/11 [Last modified: Thursday, January 27, 2011 10:48pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Starting at top: O.J. Howard becomes first Bucs rookie to sign


    The Bucs have begun the process of signing their rookie draft picks and they started at the top.

    Alabama tight end O.J. Howard has signed a four-year contract with a fifth-year club option with the Bucs.
  2. Hey, somebody really ought to write about this Aaron Judge guy


    He can catch, too.

    It's no tall tale.

    Aaron Judge, The Amazing Colossal Man, has come and gone, but not before he stunned the Rays with a diving, game-saving catch in the sixth inning of Yankees 3-2 win Sunday at Tropicana Field. The 6-foot-7, 282-pound Judge robbed Evan Longoria of an RBI double and helped …

    Aaron Judge stunned the Rays with a diving, game-saving catch in the sixth inning of Yankees 3-2 win Sunday at Tropicana Field.
  3. FSU, Gators, USF and Miami all in Athlon preseason top 25


    The college football preseason magazines are trickling in, as our Joey Knight wrote earlier.

  4. Bucs' Jameis Winston rising in fantasy football rankings


    We're still probably three months away from most fantasy football drafts, but it's not too early to appreciate that Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston has taken a major step up in the rankings entering his third NFL season.

    Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston is ranking much higher in fantasy football rankings entering his third NFL season.
  5. A new look at the top of women's tennis: It's wide open


    ROME — Asked Sunday if she believed, as the oddsmakers do, that she is the French Open favorite, Simona Halep dissented.