Thursday, January 27, 2011

Australian Open: The Baton Has Been Passed

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World No. 3 Novak Djokovic has done it again!

For the second consecutive Grand Slam, Djokovic has defeated No. 2 Roger Federer in the Semifinals.

This time around Djokovic ousted the 16-time Grand Slam champion in straight sets, 7-6, 7-5, 6-4. It took him 5 hard-fought sets to defeat Federer at last summer's U.S. Open. But nonetheless, Djokovic has officially become Federer's Achilles heel.

Djokovic now awaits the winner of the Andy Murray-David Ferrer semifinal match. The 2008 champion is looking for his second Australian Open title, which would also be is second overall Grand Slam title. But I'm sure it's just a matter of time before this kid starts winning all the other majors because, at 23, he's only getting better and stronger. As for Federer, could it be that age may be creeping up on the 29-year old former World No. 1?

All in all, today is an eye-opening day in the world of tennis as it marks the first time since 2003 that Federer doesn't have any of the 4 major titles in his possession. It's been a LONG ride, that's for sure.

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However, I'm not going to call it the end of an era, like many are saying, just yet. When asked about it, a somewhat-defiant Federer said, "Yeah, I mean they say that very quickly, let’s talk again in six months!" I agree, Roger. Let's see how the rest of 2011 plays out before we start questioning your ability to be a dominant player.

Although Federer's quest for 20 Grand Slam titles is becoming that much more difficult with each passing Grand Slam, he still has enough in the tank to win 1 or 2 more in the future. Getting to 20 (as he has said he would like) may be a tall order but, I think, 1 or 2 more may be feasible. But it's going to be rather difficult if he keeps running into this brick wall in the Semifinals because as long as he and Djokovic keep shuffling the No. 2 and No. 3 rankings, that's exactly where they'll end up meeting every time. And Djokovic is 2 for their last 2, so no doubt it isn't a good sign for Federer.

And so the dawn of a new era has begun because, there's no question, this kid Djokovic is for real.

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