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10 Years Ago: 41-0 Djokovic falls to Federer in iconic semifinal

Setting the Stage for the Semifinal

Ranked second at the start of 2011, Federer was overtaken by Djokovic in March. If the Serb's proficient baseline game could so vanquish Federer on hard courts, what chance did the Swiss have on clay?

The Dominance of Djokovic

By the time Djokovic reached the semis in Paris—without the loss of a set—his 2011 record was 41-0. Not since John McEnroe in 1984 had a men’s player begun the year so dominant.

Federer on the Move

The first set lasted 70 minutes. Federer saved two points, was down 5-4 in the tiebreaker, but snapped up three straight points to win the set—and then sprinted to a 4-1 lead in the second and went up two sets to love. 

Goodnight, Roger?

Djokovic countered. He won the third set 6-3 and in the fourth served at 5-4. By now it was past 9:00 p.m. in Paris.

Not So Fast

But Federer took a 0-40 lead and eventually broke serve, keeping the set alive. The crowd erupted with cheers usually heard during Davis Cup matches.

"I would think it is the best match I played this year."—Roger Federer

It came down to a tiebreaker. Up a mini-break at 4-3, Federer fired two strong serves to earn triple match point. On his third, at 6-5, Federer whistled an ace down the T, ending the match at 9:37 p.m., in near darkness.

For more on the match, click here.