Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic will meet Friday afternoon in a blockbuster French Open semifinal. You want storylines? Take your pick:
• Djokovic is undefeated in 2011 and is seeking to extend that streak to 42, which would tie John McEnroe for the best ever. His overall win streak would be at 44, two behind the all-time record held by Guillermo Vilas.
• If he wins, Djokovic will become the No. 1 player in the world, regardless of what Rafael Nadal does in the rest of the tournament. He would become the first player in seven years not named Roger or Rafael to hold that ranking. (The last? Andy Roddick on Feb. 1, 2004.)
• Federer is playing for his record 17th Grand Slam title and his first since the 2010 Australian Open.
• This will be the third straight major in which the two will play in the semifinals. Djokovic won the other two meetings, including the epic victory at the U.S. Open in which he saved multiple match points.
• Djokovic is the reigning Australian Open champion.
• Federer had been the invisible man at this year's tournament. While all talk was about Djokovic and Nadal, Federer was mentioned as an afterthought. A 16-time Grand Slam champion and No. 3 seed! Now he gets a chance to slip into the finals and derail the ascendency of his recent nemesis who himself is playing for a piece of tennis history? "I'd like to spoil the party," Federer said.
• Oh, and by the time this match gets underway, there's the chance that Federer and Djokovic could be playing for the right to face five-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal in the championship match.
Bart Scott, take it away:
- Novak Djokovic
- Roger Federer
- Rafael Nadal