Djokovic ready for ATP World Tour Finals
Novak Djokovic beat Roger Federer for the second time in three days to get his ATP World Tour Finals defence off to a solid start.
Djokovic followed up Saturday’s Paris semi-final victory with a 6-4 6-7 (2-7) 6-2 win at the O2 Arena.
The result keeps alive his slender hopes of ending the year as world number one.
|Match time: 2hrs 24mins|
|56||1st serve %||54|
|70||1st serve win %||66|
|52||2nd serve win %||48|
Should Rafael Nadal beat Stanislas Wawrinka on Wednesday, the Spaniard will secure top spot.
“It was a big challenge physically,” Djokovic told BBC Sport. “Only 48 hours ago, I was playing in Paris so to be able to play this well and beat Roger is incredible.
“First of all, I have to enjoy the win and then think about the recovery because it’s a big win. The good thing is, there is a day off. I’m going to try and recharge my batteries mentally and physically and get ready for [Juan Martin] Del Potro.”
With 23 Grand Slam and eight ATP Finals titles between them, Djokovic and Federer provided the first real heavyweight clash of the week in London, and there was hardly a spare seat to be found among more than 17,000 spectators.
Federer, 32, remains a huge draw despite slipping to seventh in the rankings this year, something the Swiss has put down largely to a back injury he has now recovered from.
Djokovic, 26, had said before Tuesday’s match that he thought Federer was “maybe slower” these days, and the Serb had recent experience having beaten him on the way to winning the Paris Masters last week.
Footwork might have a played a part at the O2 Arena, but on the face of it, Federer just could not match Djokovic for consistency from the back of the court at the key moments.
The world number two comes into the tournament having beaten David Ferrer in Sunday’s final of the BNP Paribas Masters. Djokovic saw off the Spaniard and last year’s winner in Paris 7-5 7-5.
It was the Serb’s sixth crown of the year, having earlier been victorious at the Australian Open as well as in Dubai, Monte-Carlo, Beijing and Shanghai in 2013.
From Monday I’m going to start thinking about London because on Tuesday night I play Federer already, a huge challenge for me.
“I am definitely playing the best tennis this year now,” Djokovic said. “I’m playing on a very high level and have lots of confidence in myself, in my game.
“From Monday I’m going to start thinking about London because on Tuesday night I play Federer already, a huge challenge for me.”
Djokovic has beaten Ferrer in 11 of their 16 encounters and thrashed him 6-2 6-2 6-1 on his way to capturing the Australian Open title earlier this year.
The Serb will be making his seventh appearance at the ATP World Tour Finals, while Ferrer, who was the runner-up in 2007, is taking part in the tournament for a fifth time.
Djokovic is 10/11 to retain his title successfully, with world number one Rafael Nadal available at 2/1 to triumph in London.
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