Roger Federer 'not the player he was' says Rupert Bell
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Wimbledon second seed Daniil Medvedev surprisingly crashed out of the tournament on Tuesday afternoon at the hands of Hubert Hurkacz. With one of the front-runners now cast aside, the stage is set for a blockbuster final between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer so long as they do not suffer any shock defeats.
Federer will now face Medvedev’s conqueror in the quarter-final, an opponent who he has only faced once back in 2019 but the Swiss emerged victorious.
Beyond that, the 39-year-old would face a semi-final against either Matteo Berrettini or Felix Auger Aliassime.
Again, Federer has faced Berrettini twice and emerged victorious on both occasions, aside from the walkover at this summer’s French Open.
Aliassime could pose a sterner challenge, however. The Canadian won his only previous meeting with Federer and dispatched another of the tournament favourites, Alexander Zverev, after a battling performance on Monday afternoon.
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The 16th seed has certainly been in great form, and he could indeed be the curveball which Federer must overcome to set up the bumper final with Djokovic.
When it comes to the Serb, he will first have to surpass the unseeded Hungarian Marton Focsovics who has required hard graft to reach the quarter-final stage.
At face value, Djokovic should make light work of Focsovics, while their head-to-head record also tilts 2-0 in the 34-year-old’s favour.
The semi-finals could push him to the limit, however, as he could face either Karen Khachanov or Denis Shapovalov.
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The latter of the pair in particular looked hugely impressive when he defeated Andy Murray in straight sets last week, although Djokovic can boast an outstanding 6-0 record against the Canadian.
All in all, it looks as though two of the ‘big three’ could well meet in the 2021 Wimbledon final if they win the games they are supposed to on paper.
Felix Auger Aliassime is the only player with the momentum and head-to-head advantage to truly threaten to spoil the party before a ball is hit, but Federer is a man for the big occasion.
On the topic of such occasions, the clash of the two all-time greats left in the tournament would be a replay of the historic 2019 final which went down as one of the best ever.
On that day, Djokovic ran out victorious after a dramatic fifth set which ended 13-12 in the Serb’s favour.
Legacies could be riding on the encounter if they do meet this time round, with Djokovic aiming to make it 20 career Grand Slams, a total which would draw him level with Federer and fellow ‘big three’ member Rafa Nadal.
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