Novak’s Year end smash hit

Sports

Even when Roger Federer had the lead, Novak Djokovic had the answers. The top-ranked Serb recovered from early breaks in both sets and beat Federer 7-6 (6), 7-5 in the championship match at the ATP finals.

Federer broke Djokovic's serve to take a quick 2-0 lead in the first set, and then again to open to the second set, but both times the world's No. 1 player rebounded to get back into the match.

"It's not the first time that Roger starts against me so well,'' Djokovic said. "I've experienced before his aggressivity, really trying to put his mark on the match. It's what he's done again.'' Federer indeed started well, winning the opening nine points and 12 of the first 14 to take a 3-0 lead. He then won the first point of the fourth game, but Djokovic finally held his serve, and soon broke back.

In the ninth game, Djokovic broke again to serve for the set at 5-4, but Federer evened the score and forced the tiebreaker.

"Maybe a bit of regret because I had the lead twice first before him,'' said Federer, the two-time defending champion. "At the end of the day, that doesn't matter. You have to get over the finish line in the set and then obviously at the match. He was better at that today.'' The crowd at the O2 Arena was decidedly in Federer's favor, but they cheered loudly throughout the match as both made spectacular shots, including a match-ending backhand passing winner from Djokovic.

"It's best way to finish the match, I guess, with a passing shot, one of my favorite shots,'' Djokovic said. "He came in. That was the only space left for me to make a passing shot, and I made it.''

The highlight for Federer came in the tiebreaker with Djokovic holding his second set point. Djokovic hit a forehand drop shot with Federer up at the net. The ball drifted past the second-ranked Swiss, but he chased it down and whacked a forehand winner to even the score at 6-6. Two points later, however, and Djokovic was the one celebrating, ending the set with a forehand winner on his third set point.

... contd.

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