Novak Djokovic recovered from early breaks in both sets to beat Roger Federer 7-6 (6), 7-5 Monday in the championship match at the ATP finals.
It was just the fourth time in the 43-year history of the Tour Finals, the top two in the world rankings were meeting in the final and they produced an enthralling clash that lived up to its billing.
Federer broke Djokovic's serve to take a 2-0 lead in the first set, and then again to open to the second set, but the top-ranked Serb rebounded each time.
Federer won the first 9 points & at that time, it looked as if we are seeing a re-match of the Cincinnati Masters, 2012 final.
Federer was looking very composed from the start of the pair’s 29th meeting. Federer’s game looked very fluent as he played on the baseline to dictate the early exchanges. Djokovic, by contrast, found himself pinned in the Ad court, leaving half the court exposed. Through the first four games, Federer had hit six forehand winners, having broken Djokovic to love for a 2-0 lead.
In a seven-minute fourth game, Djokovic withstood a stern examination to stay in touch. Perspiring heavily, he conjured up the confidence and discipline to break back for 2-3, after Federer hit a backhand long at 30/40. In the eighth game, lasting nine minutes and 20 seconds, Federer committed six unforced errors, mainly on his forehand wing, and failed to convert four game point before Djokovic broke serve. Both players were deliberately engaging one another in backhand rallies as each attempted to establish their baseline dominance.
Federer, fortitiously capitalised on a lapse in concentration to break back and the set was decided on a tie-break. Interestingly, Federer had won the first set on 20 occasions in their previous clashes. This time, Djokovic was in the ascendancy. Federer recovered from a 0-2 deficit and saved set point at 5-6 in an extraordinary rally, which saw the Swiss lunge and showcase his athletic prowess for a forehand winner, hit close to the net, past a motionless Djokovic. Federer mis-timed a backhand at 6-6 and Djokovic clinched the set in 72 minutes with his 11th winner, a forehand into space. The Serbian has never lost to Federer after winning the first set.
But, Federer broke in the first game of the 2nd set & then had set points while serving 5-4 at 40-15, but Djokovic saved those & then broke Federer again with an on the run back-hand. As Rob Koenig commented, this backhand has ensured 1.6million US Dollars in Djokovic's pocket (this is the prize money that winner of World Tour Finals gets).
Djokovic celebrated by thumping his chest and letting out a defiant roar.
Picture of Djokovic's first reaction after defeating Federer in world tour finals.
It was Djokovic's second victory at the year-end tournament for the top eight players in the world. He also won in 2008, when the tournament was in Shanghai.
Federer was looking for his record seventh title.