Never losing in the semi-final stage of the Australian Open, the defending champion Novak Djokovic has taken the opening set against Roger Federer 7-6 after much drama. Despite that groin problems, Roger had played on a high level, opening a 4-1.

40-0 advantage that wasn’t enough to carry with home, with Djokovic surviving in that sixth game to gain the momentum and pull the second break back before a comfortable tie break that sent him in front.

Federer netted an easy forehand in the opening game of the match to offer Novak two break chances, fending them off with two winners and holding after the fourth deuce with a forehand crosscourt winner, avoiding an early setback and gathering momentum.

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AO: Novak Djokovic bounces back to top Roger Federer in the opener

An incredible backhand down the line winner secured a break at 15 for the Swiss in the second game, making the best possible start and hoping to cement the break in the next game. Still, Djokovic pulled the break back in the next game after forcing an error from Federer, opening a 40-15 advantage and looking good to level the score at 2-2.

Instead of that, Roger stayed in the game and converted the third break chance when the Serb netted a backhand, firing two winners at 30-30 in the fifth game to open a 4-1 lead.

Three breakpoints:

Facing three break points in the sixth game, struggling Djokovic repelled the first couple with service winners before Roger wasted the third with a loose forehand, allowing the rival to bring the game home and reduce the deficit to 4-2.

Firing from all cylinders, Federer closed the seventh game in no time at all with a hold at love, forcing Djokovic to serve for staying in the set, something only a few could have expected before the start of the clash.

Playing without any rhythm on serve, there was another deuce on Djokovic’s serve in the eighth game, with the defending champion holding to grab another game and prolong the set for at least one more game.

Roger Vs Rafael Cape Town Tickets
AO: Novak Djokovic bounces back to top Roger Federer in the opener

Serving for the set, Federer found himself 40-0 down in that ninth game, with Djokovic breaking back at love after forcing an error from the Swiss to add more drama to the opener. Novak made a terrific hold to level the score at 5-5, taking three straight games and looking much better on the court now.

Losing focus, Roger netted a backhand to offer two break chances to Djokovic, fending off both and landing two winners to move 6-5 ahead. Novak places two aces at 30-30 in the 12th game, setting up a tie break that he claimed 7-1 with a return winner for an early lead after an hour and two minutes.

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