The much-anticipated match of the 2016 Australian Open is here upon us and Roger Federer is set to face his biggest rival Novak Djokovic in the semifinals of the competition at the Rod Laver Arena on Thursday. Though tennis fans would have loved this mega match to take shape during a final, one can expect a quality battle between two legends of the game.
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Both the stars have played some fantastic tennis in the 2016 Australian Open so far. Djokovic has won all his matches with relative ease barring the fourth round encounter against Gilles Simon. The top seed showed great character against Simon, but had to play five sets to win the match.
This performance against Simon must have come at the right time for Djokovic, who played a clinical game against Kei Nishikori in the semifinals. The Serbian defeated the Japanese in straight sets with the score reading 6-3, 6-2 and 6-4.
Djokovic, who defeated Federer in the last grand slam of 2015 – US Open -- has mostly met the Swiss ace in the finals of the competition as they are respectively seeded one and two. However, with Federer being seeded second in the year's first grand slam, tennis fans have been eagerly waiting for the semifinals.
The top seed believes that it does not matter if it is final or semifinal as each match is always played like a final, with both the players going for a win.
"I don't think there is too much difference playing Roger in a Grand Slam. Any round feels like finals because of the fact that we are, you know, big rivals, we played so many times against each other. There's a lot of tension. There's a lot at stake. I'm expecting a great fight in two days," the Australian Open official website quoted Djokovic as saying.
Djokovic and Federer have been fighting it out in the ATP circuit like no other as their head-to-head records suggest so. They have played 44 matches so far and both the players have won 22 matches each.
Djokovic is aware that the Swiss ace plays some exquisite tennis in the latter stages of the competition.
"You know, Roger is playing really terrific tennis in last two years. We played two Grand Slam finals last year. I know very well how good he plays, especially in the later stages of a major event," said Federer.
"He always makes you play your best. My best is what is going to be necessary to win against him. Hopefully I'll be able to deliver."
Federer has been in scintillating form in the 2016 Australian Open as he has only dropped a single set so far. His third round opponent Grigor Dimitrov snatched a set from the former world number 1.
Federer played some high-intensity tennis in the quarters to set up a date with Djokovic. He defeated Tomas Berdych in the quarters with the score reading 7-6, 6-2 and 6-4.
Irrespective of the quality performances, which has been put up by Federer in the 2016 Australian Open, the Swiss ace is aware of the tough task against Djokovic, who has defeated the Swiss six times in their last eight meetings.
The Swiss ace believes Djokovic is one of the reasons for him being in the ATP circuit as Federer believes he is still at his competitive best and is confident of beating any player in the world.
"I mean, a lot, yeah. It's part of the reason why I guess I'm still playing. I feel like I'm competitive at the top. I can beat all the guys on tour. It's nice now that in the last three slams that I've been as consistent as I have been," said Federer.
It remains to be seen if Djokovic is that "any player", who Federer can defeat in the 2016 Australian Open semifinals.
Where to watch live
Australian Open 2016 semifinal match -- Roger Federer vs Novak Djokovic – is scheduled for 7:30 pm local time (2pm am IST, 12 am GMT, 7 pm ET) start. The live coverage of the Australian Open will be on Sony ESPN and Sony ESPN HD in India, with the online live streaming option on Sonyliv.
Roger Federer vs Novak Djokovic semifinal can be viewed live in the UK and Ireland on BBC, with live streaming on BBCiPlayer.
Eurosport and Eurosport Player will show the Roger Federer vs Novak Djokovic semifinal in the rest of Europe. Channel 7 will broadcast the Australian Open live in Australia.
US viewerscan watch Australian Open live on ESPN with live streaming options on Watch ESPN.
Fox Sports will show the Australia Open matches live in South East Asia as well as South Korea.