Roger Federer vs. Novak Djokovic
World #2 Roger Federer defeated World #1 Novak Djokovic in Dubai to edge ahead 20-17 in their head-to-head series. Each man has only lost 1 match in 2015. This is the match that the tournament organizers were hoping for as it has a bit of everything. Novak, in my view, is poised to have his best year since 2011. He has controlled Murray in recent meetings. Nadal has struggled putting a full season together. Roger Federer, while 33, seems to be his largest obstacle on tour. A win by Federer today might be the start of a trend that could impede Nole’s 2015 campaign. Conversely, a win by Nole would put their record at 1-1 for 2015 and set up future clashes.
To be clear, Novak is the clear world #1 whether he wins or loses today, but a win over Federer would help Novak to increase his domination of the tour. Roger Federer seems to be enjoying his status as the leader of the 30+ brigade who are playing so well. Roger’s style of play forces the issue against Djokovic in a manner most players on tour cannot muster.
In 2014, Federer beat Djokovic in the Dubai semifinal round only to have Nole defeat him in the Indian Wells championship. I think 2015 may follow a similar script. Roger will try to attack Novak judiciously, but Nole’s return game and elastic defensive skills will be enough to make this rivalry more interesting still.
My Prediction: Novak Djokovic d. Roger Federer 6-4, 3-6, 6-4