TENNIS: Djokovic reigns supreme in 2012

Novak Djokovic Def. Roger Federer 7-6 7-5

 

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(Djokovic celebrates his 6th title for 2012.  Source: Wikicommons)

 

Novak Djokovic has capped off an extremely successful 2012 with victory in the final event of the year, ATP Barclays World Tour Finals, by defeating six time champion Roger Federer.

The Serbian and Swiss maestro were meeting for the 29th time with Federer holding a 16 – 12 advantage over the current world number one.

The key factors for Federer going into the match was going to be his serve and forehand.  For Djokovic the returning game and defensive skills were going to be his biggest asset.

Federer and Djokovic went into the final match of the year having won six and five titles respectively.  Federer claiming major titles in Indian Wells, Madrid, Wimbledon and Cincinnati; while Djokovic claimed the Australian Open, Miami, Toronto and Shanghai titles.

The match began with Federer utilising his backhand down the line.  Not necessarily known for using his backhand as a weapon the world number two moved Djokovic around the court which effected the Serbian’s rhythm.

At 4 – 4 Federer was serving for a 5 – 4 lead and with an average serving game duration of approximately 2 and a half minutes it was merely a formality, or so we thought.  Nine minutes on and numerous opportunities to hold serve the Swiss maestro was broken leaving Djokovic to serve for the match.

After getting broken himself the first set eventually went to a tiebreaker.  Both players were making some uncharacteristic errors which signified the enormity of the pending outcome.

Federer, set point down, plays an unbelievable passing forehand completely off balance.  Making the tiebreak score 6 – 6 the general consensus was that Federer had done enough to gain the mental edge.  However, Djokovic regrouped and played some sound groundstrokes to claim the first set tiebreaker, 8 points to 6.

Djokovic had never lost a match to Federer after winning the first set but Federer was aiming to change this by breaking in the opening game of the second set.

The match rose to another level as Federer was looking comfortable using his slice backhand and occasionally approaching the net.  At 5 – 4, serving for the set, Djokovic applied enormous pressure to break Federer and hold serve to gain a commanding 6 – 5 lead.

Federer threw everything in the final game but too many forehand errors and looping half court shots hindered Federer’s chances.  With Djokovic’s first match point Federer approached the net and played a great volley however, Djokovic manages to pull off a spectacular backhand down the line to register his first victory in the final of the World Tour Finals.

With an enjoyable 2012 season officially over the players will return to families and friends to enjoy Christmas and a well-deserved break.  A year almost evenly dominated by the top four players, Djokovic will end as the world number one and start 2013 as the one to chase.

 

 

Sean Munaweera is a Sport Journalism student at La Trobe University.  Follow his in depth analysis on Tennis, AFL and other sports on Twitter: @sean_muna

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