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Djokovic beats Federer to claim World Tour Final

London, Nov 13 (Agencies)
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Published on 13 Nov. 2012 10:15 PM IST
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Novak Djokovic ended Roger Federer’s reign as the king of the O2 Arena in a brilliant final at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London.

Federer had won the last two titles and was looking to extend his record to seven in the tournament as a whole but he could not capitalise on good starts in both sets and went down 7-6 (8/6) 7-5 in two hours and 14 minutes.

For world number one Djokovic, who saved two set points in the second set, it was the perfect way to end another stellar season and as undefeated champion he goes home with $1,760,000 in prize money.

It was only the fourth time the top two players in the world have played in the final since the inaugural tournament in 1970.

Federer and Djokovic had met 28 times previously, with the Swiss leading 16-12, while he had also won their two most recent matches, at Wimbledon and in Cincinnati in August.

In contrast, this was Djokovic’s first final in London, although he did win the title the final year the tournament was held in Shanghai in 2008.

On Sunday, Federer had begun sloppily against Andy Murray before recovering to win in three sets, but on Monday he was sharp from the start, winning his opening service game in less than a minute.

The same could not be said for Djokovic, who started his first service game with a double fault and could not recover.
Remarkably Federer won the first nine points but Djokovic is the master of digging in and he steadied the ship before breaking back for 3-2 when his opponent’s level finally dropped a little bit.

On Sunday, it had been notable that Federer had the majority of the crowd support despite facing a British player but on Monday it appeared more even, with Serbian flags punctuating the ubiquitous Swiss cross.

And Djokovic was firmly back in the match now and pushing for another break, which he achieved after a long ninth game. That left the 25-year-old serving for the set, and he had a set point but he could not take it and there was a huge cheer as Federer broke back when Djokovic netted a forehand.

The Serb was on the floor in the next game as he flung himself after a Federer forehand, which necessitated a patch-up from the trainer, but he recovered from 0-30 to force a tie-break.

Like the rest of the set, it was nip and tuck. Djokovic had the first set point but Federer saved it in a remarkable rally and let out a roar.

A cry of ‘Roger, Roger’ rang out but Federer followed up with an errant backhand and this time Djokovic capitalised. Djokovic was soon on the back foot again, though, as Federer piled on the pressure at the start of the second set, and he got his break at the fourth time of asking.

Federer was up against it having never won on the eight previous occasions he had dropped the first set to Djokovic, while it was the first time he had lost the opener in his eight finals at the tournament.

The world number two kept pressing and missed a chance for a double break in the fifth game, which he was almost made to regret as Djokovic, the man who simply will not go away, pushed for a break of his own to level at 4-4.

Federer held on and brought up two set points at 5-4 but he let the chance slip away and this time Djokovic did capitalise, a forehand into the corner too much for the champion.

That drew a full-blooded roar from the Serb, and now the pressure was on Federer to stay in the match. He could not do it, Djokovic driving a backhand passing shot beyond the despairing reach of his opponent on his first match point.

The 25-year-old’s performances this week have been particularly impressive given the worries over the health of his father Srdjan, who remains seriously ill with a respiratory condition. Djokovic said: “It’s been a very long year, a very long two years, but a very successful two years.

Bopanna, Bhupathi split after defeat
Rohan Bopanna has confirmed his partnership with American Rajeev Ram for the next ATP season, the move comes in the wake of Mahesh Bupathi-Bopanna combine deciding to part ways.

While Bhupathi will be partnering Canadian Daniel Nestor, Bopanna will be seen pairing up with long-time friend Rajeev on the ATP circuit next year. The duo has a combined experience of 17 years on the professional circuit.

“Rohan and Rajeev had decided a few months ago to combine forces to make what they believe an extremely formidable partnership, given their complementary styles of play and strong service games,” a release from Play Right, the firm which manages Bopanna, stated today.

Bopanna had a successful year with Bhupathi, which included two titles at Dubai and Paris and runner-up finish at the just-concluded season-ending London Masters.

He also attained his career-best ranking of eight in March this year. “I played with Mahesh in 2012 with a special focus on preparing for the London Olympics and now that it’s over, I want to concentrate on the ATP circuit and I am eager to build a strong, sustainable partnership,” Bopanna said about his decision.

With a career best doubles ranking of 33, Rajeev has maintained a fine balance between the singles and doubles circuits. The 28-year-old, however, has limited his singles appearances in the last couple of years and is concentrating more on the doubles game. Rajeev earlier this year in September won the St Petersburg Open along with Nenad Zimonjic.

“I am very excited to play with Rohan in 2013. He is not only one of the best doubles players in the world but also a good friend. It is a great opportunity for me and I am looking forward to it,” Rajeev said.

With a total of 14 ATP doubles titles between them, Rohan and Rajeev are looking to recapture the magic in 2013.
“2012 has been a good season for both of us and we hope to continue the momentum into 2013. However, we really want to focus on one match at a time,” said Bopanna.

His new partner was, though, was in no mood to look too far ahead. “Looking at the first month of the year, there are two big events in Chennai and the Australian Open so there is no need to look any further than that,” Rajeev pointed.

“We haven’t played together since Australia in 2008 so it has been a while. I just hope to continuously improve so that we can reach our full potential,” he added.

The newly-formed combination will open their campaign in 2013 at the Chennai Open, where Rajeev won the title in 2009 partnering Eric Butorac.

 
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