Federer Upset by Djokovic, Out of Australian Open

January 27, 2011 Updated: January 27, 2011

Novak Djokovic  exults after beating Roger Federer in their semifinal men's singles match at the Australian Open tennis tournament. (Torsten Blackwood/AFP/Getty Images)
Novak Djokovic exults after beating Roger Federer in their semifinal men's singles match at the Australian Open tennis tournament. (Torsten Blackwood/AFP/Getty Images)
Roger Federer lost in straight sets to Serbia’s Novak Djokovic, losing his chance to win a fifth Australian Open. With Rafael Nadal eliminated by David Ferrer, this will be the first major tennis tournament in the past three years where neither Nadal nor Federer made the final.

Djokovic told ESPN that aggression was the key to his victory. “When you have a chance against a player like Roger, you have to use it. You’re not going to get a lot of those. I was aware of that.

“I was aware that this was the court where I could beat him, because I did that three years ago [2008 Australian Open] when I won my first grand slam. I had to step in, take my chances. I did really well.”

Federer, 29 years old, could not match the pace or power of his 23-year-old opponent. Djokovic came out blasting hard shots, primarily to Federer’s backhand, keeping the No. 2-ranked Swiss player on the run. After a hard-fought one-hour set, Djokovic won the tiebreak.

Federer came out with a more defensive strategy in the second set, and pulled ahead 5–2, but Djokovic hung tough and won that set 7–5.

Roger Federer reacts in his semifinal match against Novak Djokovic. (Mark Dadswell/Getty Images)
Roger Federer reacts in his semifinal match against Novak Djokovic. (Mark Dadswell/Getty Images)
By the third set it was clear that Roger Federer simply did not have anything on his younger adversary; despite gaining a 4–3 lead, Federer couldn’t match Djokovic’s relentless power. It took Djokovic three hours to win the match, and every point was grueling, but the young Serb never doubted himself and never faltered.

Novak Djokovic will face either David Ferrer or Andy Murray in Sunday’s final. Whoever wins, it will be only the fifth time since 2003 that someone other than Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal will have won a grand slam title.

Rafael Nadal has been plagued by injuries and Roger Federer is turning 30 in August. The Williams sisters are both sidelined with injuries. Tennis is perhaps hearing the first drumbeats signaling a changing of the guard and a mustering of the next wave of tennis royalty.