Novak Djokovic recalls: 'Roger Federer was frustrated and smashed a racquet'

‘Roger Federer got frustrated and smashed a racket’

Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic met in the 2009 Miami semifinals. The Serb overcame a slow start to earn a 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 triumph for his seventh Masters 1000 final. It was their first meeting since the 2008 US Open and brought with it a rare scene.

Roger would throw unexpected tantrums and outbursts, smash his bat and receive a code violation. After the match, the Swiss refrained from shaking hands with chair umpire Fergus Murphy. Novak broke Roger six times from ten opportunities, raising his level after the first set and finding a way to impose his shots and take his opponent’s rhythm.

Federer got off to a strong start and caught four breaks, not enough for a positive result, after making 40 unforced errors, many at crucial moments. Djokovic overpowered Federer in the longest exchanges to secure victory and set the final clash with Andy Murray.

Roger showed two good holds early in the encounter and broke in game four to open a 3-1 lead. The Swiss held with two wins after deuce in game five to cement the advantage and find a fine rhythm. Novak grabbed a backhand in game six for another easy hold before pulling a break back in the next to gain some momentum.

Federer secured the start with a hold in game nine and hoped for more in the second set. However, he lost ground early in the second set and lost serve in the second game at 15. Djokovic defended a break point in game three to open a 3-0 gap and gain a boost.

Roger retrieved the break after Novak’s double fault in game five, wasting a game point in the next game. The Serb used the fifth break chance after the rival’s loose forehand to regain the advantage and take a 4-2 lead.

Djokovic held at 15 in game seven, stealing the rival’s serve again at 15 at 5-2 to seal the set and gather a boost ahead of the decider.

Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer fought in the 2009 Miami semifinals.

Novak held early in the final set with a service winner, breaking Roger in game two with 15 to extend the advantage.

Federer scored a routine forehand in the second point of the third game and smashed his racquet to lose focus and temper. Struggling to recover, Roger sprayed a forehand error in game four to go 4-0 down and wide of the finish line after the fourth break in a row.

Federer closed the gap with a break in game five before Djokovic held at love two games later to stay ahead. The Swiss fired four winners at 2-5 to extend the encounter and the Serb brought home the ninth game at 15 to celebrate his third win over Roger.

“Roger was frustrated but I think he can give a better answer. I tried to stay focused and bring the encounter home while I was in charge. I was pretty nervous in the opening set and made a lot of mistakes despite landing a lot of first serves.

After that I changed my approach and played with more patience. The key game came when the score was 3:2 in the second set. After that I was a better player and took my chances. My return worked well and I forced him to play an extra shot, which was essential.

We have played many times on this surface and there are no secrets between us. Roger didn’t do much in the first set, pushing my backhand and waiting for errors. After that I became more offensive and controlled the rallies in difficult conditions with changes of pace.

Roger is good at hiding his feelings and I couldn’t think about how he was feeling at that moment; I was focused on my game. I knew I had the level to beat him and I had to be patient and aggressive at the same time. He started making mistakes after the opening set and I tried to disrupt him on both wings,” said Novak Djokovic.

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