Federer ends Djokovic's 43 game unbeaten run to make Open final

He always said his critics had been too quick to write him off and Roger Federer proved his point in thrilling fashion here last night.

The former world No 1, who last played in a Grand Slam final 18 months ago, will renew his rivalry tomorrow with Rafael Nadal in the climax of the French Open after becoming the first player this year to beat Novak Djokovic.

Federer completed a 7-6, 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 semi-final victory over the 24-year-old Serb in fading light at 9.37pm. It was Djokovic's first defeat since he lost to Federer in London in November and ended his remarkable 43-match winning run, which began with Serbia's Davis Cup triumph at the end of last year.

If he had reached the final Djokovic would have equalled John McEnroe's 1984 record of 42 wins since the start of the season. He would also have become world No 1, though he can still go top if Federer wins tomorrow.

Last night's victory will be particularly sweet for Federer given that this tournament last year was the beginning of the most barren run in his Grand Slam career since he won his first title at Wimbledon in 2003. The 29-year-old Swiss slipped to No 3 in the world rankings as Djokovic and Nadal became the two outstanding players.

Djokovic, who has pulled out of next week's Aegon Championships at Queen's Club in order to rest before Wimbledon, may have paid the price of his enforced five-day break after Fabio Fognini, his scheduled quarter-final opponent, pulled out with injury. The Serb lost the first two sets as Federer came out with all guns blazing. Having won the opening tie-break 7-5, Federer broke to lead 3-1 in the second set, which he went on to win after saving a break point in the ninth game.

Much of the tennis was sensational, with both men going for broke. Federer dropped his serve in the second game of the third set, which Djokovic went on to win, becoming the first player to take a set off the Swiss here this year. When the Serb broke to lead 5-4 in the fourth set, with the night closing in, it looked as though the players might have to return today for a one-set shoot-out, but Federer broke back with a big forehand winner.

By now the lights on the scoreboards in Court Philippe-Chatrier were glowing brightly through the gloom, but the stadium was still nearly full. The crowd here love Federer for all his style and finesse and roared him on in the closing stages. Federer saved a break point at 5-5 and the set went to a tie-break. From 4-3 up the Swiss created three match points with successive unreturned serves. Djokovic saved the first two, but Federer took the third with his 18th ace. The Swiss held up a single finger, indicating perhaps that he still regards himself as the No 1, before letting out a huge roar.

"It was a pleasure playing against Novak today," Federer said afterwards. "I told him at the net as well. I said his record speaks for itself, how great he's played already this season, and it's not even over yet. He can still achieve so much more this year. I thought we played some great tennis. The way the crowd got into it, as well, towards the end of the match, the way they back me here in Paris, is just an amazing feeling."

Afterwards Djokovic said Federer had deserved to win. "He played really well in the important moments," Djokovic said. "I congratulate him for a great performance."

A day that had begun with two young pretenders, Djokovic and Andy Murray, hoping to earn the chance to meet in a second successive Grand Slam final ended instead with the enthralling prospect of a renewal of the greatest rivalry in the modern game. Nadal, nine times a Grand Slam champion, has won 16 of his 24 meetings with 29-year-old Federer, who will be chasing his 17th major title.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in the win over QPR
footballInternet reacts to miss shocker for Liverpool striker
Voices
Sol Campbell near his home in Chelsea
voices
News
Kimi the fox cub
newsBurberry under fire from animal rights group - and their star, Kimi
Arts and Entertainment
Ella Henderson's first studio album has gone straight to the top of the charts
music
News
<p>Jonathan Ross</p>
<p>Jonathan Ross (or Wossy, as he’s affectionately known) has been on television and radio for an extraordinarily long time, working on a seat in the pantheon of British presenters. Hosting Friday Night with Jonathan Ross for nine years, Ross has been in everything from the video game Fable to Phineas and Ferb. So it’s probably not so surprising that Ross studied at Southampton College of Art (since rebranded Southampton Solent), a university known nowadays for its media production courses.</p>
<p>However, after leaving Solent, Ross studied History at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, now part of the UCL, a move that was somewhat out of keeping with the rest of his career. Ross was made a fellow of the school in 2006 in recognition of his services to broadcasting.</p>
TV

Rumours that the star wants to move on to pastures new

Life and Style
fashion
News
Paul Nuttall, left, is seen as one of Ukip's key weapons in selling the party to the North of England
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Russell Brand labelled 'left-wing commie scum' by Fox News
TV
Arts and Entertainment
BBC's Antiques Roadshow uncovers a TIE fighter pilot helmet from the 1977 Star Wars film, valuing it at £50,000
TV

TV presenter Fiona Bruce seemed a bit startled by the find during the filming of Antiques Roadshow

News
people

Comedian says he 'never laughed as hard as I have writing with Rik'

Sport
Steven Caulker of QPR scores an own goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Queens Park Rangers and Liverpool
football
Arts and Entertainment
artKaren Wright tours the fair and wishes she had £11m to spare
News
i100
Life and Style
Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh been invited to take part in Women Fashion Power, a new exhibition that celebrates the way women's fashion has changed in relation to their growing power and equality over the past 150 years
fashionKirsty and Camila swap secrets about how to dress for success
Arts and Entertainment
Joy Division photographed around Waterloo Road, Stockport, near Strawberry Studios. The band are Bernard Sumner (guitar and keyboards), Stephen Morris (drums and percussion), Ian Curtis (vocals and occasional guitar), Peter Hook (bass guitar and backing vocals).
booksNew book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album
Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

Terry Venables column

Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

Michael Calvin's Inside Word

Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past