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. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Saturday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    RHP Jake Odorizzi admitted he probably should have gone on the DL sooner than late July for the back stiffness that was keeping him from throwing the ball where he wanted to. He has since found an impressive groove, with another strong outing Saturday.

  2. Matt Baker's takeaways from Florida State-N.C. State


    RB Cam Akers still looks like a former high school quarterback at times. His first two touches (30 yards) were special, but the freshman juked instead of powering ahead on his third (an unsuccessful third-and-1 rush). That's why the Seminoles are easing him in, as they did with Dalvin Cook three years ago.

    Running back Cam Akers carries for a first down during the third quarter as FSU eases the freshman into the college game.
  3. An attempt to project what Rays will look like in 2018

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — We know what the Rays look like this year: a team that had enough talent but too many flaws, in construction and performance, and in the next few days will be officially eliminated from a wild-card race it had a chance to win but let slip away.

    Adeiny Hechavarria, high-fiving Lucas Duda, seems likely to be brought back.
  4. Lightning confused by NHL's slashing crackdown

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — D Victor Hedman said the joke in the Lightning locker room before Friday's exhibition game was that the over/under on slashing penalties would be six.

    "It was the over again," Hedman quipped.

    Wing Ryan Callahan, left,  pursues the Predators’ Colton Sissons, being careful how he uses his stick given the crackdown on slashing in the preseason. “It’s hard to defend when you’re so used to doing something for so long and now it’s a penalty,” Callahan says.
  5. Trump fallout: Bucs' DeSean Jackson to make 'statement' Sunday


    Bucs receiver DeSean Jackson said Saturday that he will make a "statement" before today's game against the Vikings in response to President Donald Trump's comment that owners should "fire" players who kneel in protest during the national anthem.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver DeSean Jackson (11) makes a catch during the first half of an NFL game between the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017.