Some stray thoughts before Friday's semifinal between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer ...
• Only in England would a semifinal matchup between Djokovic and Federer be considered an undercard. But because hometown hero Andy Murray is seeking to become the first British man to win Wimbledon since 1938, the blockbuster semi between the rivals with a combined 21 Grand Slam titles will be played before a semi that features two men with none.
• This will be the sixth time in the last eight Grand Slams that the two players have faced off in a semifinal. Federer and Djokovic had defied statistical probability by appearing on the same side of the draw in 13 of the last 15 Slams. It was an especially harsh stroke of luck at this tournament given Rafael Nadal's second-round upset. Djokovic has won four of those five semifinal meetings, including at last year's U.S. Open when he saved two match points and came back from two sets down.
• No. 1 is also on the line on Friday, sort of. If Federer wins Wimbledon, he'll return to the top spot in the rankings for the first time since May 24, 2010. If he gets back there, Federer will tie Pete Sampras for most weeks at No. 1 in history. Djokovic will retain the No. 1 ranking if Federer doesn't win the title. Either way, Federer will gain points in Monday's rankings. Djokovic is defending 2,000 points from his win last year. Federer has already gained points from his 2011 quarterfinal loss.
• Djokovic and Federer have never played on grass. They've faced each other 26 times, with Federer holding a 14-12 edge. In Grand Slams, the players have split their 10 meetings.
• The 11th meeting between Djokovic and Federer will be the most between two opponents in Grand Slam historyl
Prediction: Djokovic's streak of consecutive Grand Slam finals (four) will be broken eventually. Roger Federer's streak of consecutive Grand Slams without a title (nine) may never end. The former gets snapped on Friday. The latter will be forgotten on Sunday, when Federer defeats Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the final.
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