Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic scored the semifinal clash in Toronto 2010, their first since Basel 14 months ago. Novak defeated Jeremy Chardy in straight sets in the quarterfinals in Toronto, while Roger beat Tomas Berdych from the brink of defeat to host the 15th encounter against the Serbian.
Speaking about his previous match during the press conference in Toronto, Djokovic said it felt special to beat Roger in his hometown of Basel last fall, playing at a high level in that one and expecting more of the same in Toronto.
Roger had won 19 consecutive games in Basel between 2006-2009, and failed to secure the fourth consecutive title in his hometown after a 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 loss to Novak. It was his fourteenth meeting and Novak's fifth win, the third that season after Miami and Roma.
Roger served 71%, and it wasn't enough to keep him safe against such a reliable return, losing 38% of points in his games and suffering four breaks out of eight opportunities offered to Novak. The Serb played 11 break opportunities, fending off nine of them to limit damage and dominate the three-time champion for his first Basel crown.
Djokovic hit more winners and fewer unforced errors and stayed in contact with Federer on the shorter rallies of up to four strokes. On top of that, nothing could separate them in the longest exchanges with nine strokes or more.
However, Djokovic created the crucial difference in mid-range rallies, where he outscored Roger with a solid performance in the deciding set to end Federer's streak in Basel.
Verdasco on facing Roger Federer
Fernando Verdasco recently said Rafael Nadal is the toughest opponent he has faced in his entire career, while joking about how dominant he has been at Roland Garros.
Verdasco also talked about his matchup against Roger Federer, claiming that he wouldn't have had zero wins against the Swiss if he had played against him more often. "I imagine this will depend a lot on who says it, others will say that Feliciano (Lopez) has more talent, others will say that Rafael Nadal," Verdasco said.
"In Spain we have had the great luck of having several generations with brutal talent; if you listen to foreigners talking about us you will see that they tend to define us as gladiators, as physically tough guys. With Rafa, he is the one I played the most times (17-3), then Murray (13-4), then Novak (11-4) and finally Roger (7-0)," Verdasco said.
"I beat the first three at times, but with Federer I never could. The closest I got was at the London Masters, going 6-4, 4-4 and two break points, but those two balls slip away and there is no turning back. With Rafa I had to play 14 times until I beat him for the first time," he added. "Just as if I had played 14 times with Roger I would have won one."