When Roger Federer lost to Novak Djokovic but earned a Major milestone
by JOVICA ILIC | VIEW 5003
Despite being one of the oldest players left on the Tour, Roger Federer was still capable of producing high-quality tennis and fight for the biggest titles in 2019. Roger finished that season ranked third behind Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic and made a promising start of the following one, stopping the clock in Melbourne to advance into the last four.
The 2020 Australian Open was Roger's 46 Major semi-final and the 15th down under. At 38 years and five months, Roger became the fourth-oldest Major semi-finalist in the Open era and the oldest one since 1991, proving once again that age is just a number in his case.
Ken Rosewall was the semi-finalist at the Australian Open in January 1977 at 42 years, keeping the record that should stay in his property for good. Rosewall is followed by another legend, Pancho Gonzales, who competed in the last four in the first Open era Major in Paris in 1968, just after turning 40.
Federer's closest rival on the list is the mentioned Jimmy Connors, who had his swan song at beloved US Open in 1991, celebrating the 39th birthday during the event and still standing third on the list ahead of Roger. Joining some of the most notable veterans in our sport's history, Federer has proved his everlasting class after battling against much younger rivals.
Passing five obstacles en route to the semis, Roger fell to the defending champion Novak Djokovic in a battle for the final despite having a chance to win the opener and make the match more interesting. The Swiss star needed under three hours to topple Steve Johnson and Filip Krajinovic in the opening two rounds before a much more challenging obstacle in John Millman, who pushed Roger to the limits for over four hours.
Roger Federer became the fourth-oldest Major semi-finalist in Melbourne last year.
An inspired Aussie led 8-4 in the deciding match tie break before Federer bounced back to take six straight points and avoid an early setback.
In the fourth round, Roger ousted Marton Fucsovics with reliable performance in sets two, three and four to set the clash against Tennys Sandgren that turned out to be an epic one! Struggling with a groin injury, the Swiss had to save seven match points in the fourth set, staying in the match by a miracle and bringing the victory home in the fifth set to book the 50th meeting against Novak Djokovic.
The oldest Major semi-finalist in almost 30 years made a great start against the seven-time winner before Novak took charge, overcoming the deficit to steal the opener and never looking back in 7-6, 6-4, 6-3 win. As we all know, it's Roger's last Major semi-final so far, struggling with a knee injury for two seasons and hoping for a better run in the second part of 2022.