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Fed Express rolls on as Djokovic's streak grinds to a halt

Roger Federer has beaten Novak Djokovic 7-6, 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 to book a French Open final date against Rafael Nadal.

Image: Michel Spingler/AP/Press Association Images

NO GO, DJOKO. It’s Roger vs. Rafa in the French Open final again.

Novak Djokovic’s perfect season and 43-match winning streak were ended by Roger Federer in the semifinals at Roland Garros. The 16-time Grand Slam champion beat the second-seeded Serb 7-6 (5), 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (5)  this evening and will face Rafael Nadal in the final for the fourth time in six years.

Five-time champion Nadal, who is one victory away from equaling Bjorn Borg’s record of six French Open titles, defeated Andy Murray 6-4, 7-5, 6-4 earlier on Court Philippe Chatrier to improve his record at Roland Garros to 44-1.

On Sunday, Nadal will try to beat Federer for the sixth time in eight Grand Slam finals.

Djokovic entered the French Open as the hottest man on tour. He won every tournament he had played in 2011, including earning his second Grand Slam title at the Australian Open after beating Federer in their second straight major semifinal.

But for Federer, three times in a row was one too many.

The third-seeded Swiss had an answer to just about everything Djokovic could muster, sending back shot after shot and waiting for his opponent to make the mistakes — even though Federer finished with 46 unforced errors, five more than Djokovic.

The two traded a pair of breaks in the first set, and Djokovic led 5-4 in the tiebreaker until three unforced errors — a backhand and two forehands — gave Federer the set.

In the second, Federer took a 4-1 win and held on to win it despite wasting nine more break chances.

Djokovic got the early break in the third and ran out to a 3-0 lead, eventually taking the first set off Federer at this year’s tournament. He also led in the fourth, and served for the set at 5-4. But Federer got his fourth break and soon sent it into a tiebreaker.

Once there, Federer was the Federer of old again.

He took a 6-3 lead by winning three straight points, the latter two with an ace and service winner. He then won the match with his 18th ace of the match.

Despite ending Djokovic’s run, things won’t get any easier against Nadal.

Federer is 8-16 against his main rival, and 2-6 in Grand Slams. He has already lost to Nadal twice this year, in the semifinals in Key Biscayne, Florida, and in Madrid.

– AP

Read: Nadal storms past Murray to book place in French Open final >

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