Four months after scorning two match points in his US Open semi-final against Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer will tomorrow have the chance to take revenge on his Serbian rival.
The two men set up their Australian Open semi-final with emphatic victories here yesterday. Federer reached the last four of this tournament for the eighth year in succession with a 6-1, 6-3, 6-3 victory over his fellow Swiss, Stanislas Wawrinka, while Djokovic beat the Czech Republic's Tomas Berdych 6-1, 7-6, 6-1 to make the semi-finals here for the first time since he won the title three years ago.
Federer, who swept his Davis Cup colleague Wawrinka aside in just an hour and 47 minutes, is defending the only Grand Slam title that Rafael Nadal does not hold. He has played Djokovic three times since the US Open, winning on each occasion and dropping only one set along the way, but the world No 3 has been in magnificent form here and reckons he knows how to beat him.
"In New York I think I played a great match against him," Djokovic said. "He's very aggressive, maybe the most aggressive player there is on the tour. You have to be patient, vary your game and get him out of his comfort zone. I've played so many times against him. He knows my game really well, as I know his. It's very unpredictable what's going to happen in a Grand Slam semi-final."
Federer has won 13 of their 19 matches and four of their six meetings in Grand Slam tournaments. They have met twice here, Federer winning in the fourth round in 2007 and Djokovic in the semi-finals a year later.
"We're rivals, but we have big respect for each other," Djokovic said. "I've won against him on different occasions, mostly on hard courts, so this is a chance for me."