Schuettler’s farewell

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Australian Open 2003 – it’s a tournament which defines Rainer Schuettler’s [845] status in tennis history. The German unexpectedly reached the final; Marat Safin helped him a bit withdrawing from their third round encounter, but it would be unfair to … Continue reading

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2012 summary + US Open 1995

2772 singles matches played in 2012 at the main level (ATP tournaments, Grand Slams, Olympics, Davis Cup, World Team Cup), the most of them unexpectedly won David Ferrer – 76. It was the first year since 2003 with four different major champions, a few particular record have been broken. Check the summary out
Time-line, Ranking by country & Santoro’s specialty are updated
From the beginning of the tournament the final line-up was actually foregone because Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras were far beyond the rest on hard-courts at the time. They met in a big final for the 5th time that year and a slight underdog (Sampras) took the title, simultaneously edging their No. 1 rivalry in 1995. As many as three matches were concluded after retirements of players who led two-sets-to-one. Read more…
US Open ’95 – it’s the last Grand Slam tournament included to my website in November. Due to an off-court period, next month I’ll be adding more than one major per week, ‘2003’ is going to be the first ‘full major year’ here… since December ’12. Circumstances (farewell of three players who’d made their biggest achievements in 2003) caused my decision to summarize that year in 2012. Since 2013, I’ll be intertwining three different decades (80s, 90s and 00s). I’ve estimated that in current pace of work in two years time, the website will have contained 124 archival Grand Slam tournaments  (all of years 1980-2010). Because of that I need to modify a bit the structure of the drop-down menu to avoid a situation that all archival majors aren’t immediately accessible on our screens, thus four different majors will be gathered on one page. Point your cursor on menu’s ‘2-Roland Garros’ and check ‘1982 – 1983’ to imagine how everything will look like in the future.
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Roland Garros 1998 + m.p. stats

After three days, the tournament was already deprived of the best players of the 90s: Pete Sampras (his last reasonable chance to conquer Paris) and Andre Agassi. Former champion Thomas Muster wasn’t a serious threat on his beloved clay-courts anymore, it opened up the best opportunity for Marcelo Rios to get his maiden major title. He was a huge favorite, however, it was a time of Spanish emergence as a new tennis power. Spaniards had good players over 70s and 80s, but never so many in such a short period of time like in the late 90s; three of them advanced to semifinals at Roland Garros ’98 and Carlos Moya was the one who gained mastery among them. It was a tournament in which 18-year-old Marat Safin showed his tremendous potential for the first timeRead more…  
Here is the list of distinctive, retired players born in the 70s and their m.p. records (I’ve also included Marat Safin – the first player born in the 80s who emerged as a real deal in the 90s), I think you should adopt a +/- 2/2 error for players born before 1975 and a +/- 1/1 error for those who were born since ’75. At least seven matches of this type required.
(.888) 16-2 Nicolas Lapentti; (.818) 9-2 Marcelo Rios
(.750) 9-3 Jan-Michael Gambill; (.714) 10-4 Hicham Arazi; (.705) 12-5 Vincent Spadea; (.700) 7-3 Magnus Norman;
(.666) 12-6 Yevgeny Kafelnikov; (.666) 10-5 Alex Corretja; (.636) 7-4 Jiri Novak, Sjeng Schalken; (.647) 11-6 Todd Martin; (.625) 5-3 Younes El Aynaoui, Sargis Sargsian, Stefan Koubek; (.600) 15-10 Pete Sampras; (.600) 6-4 Nicolas Kiefer;
(.588) 10-7 Andre Agassi; (.583) 7-5 Patrick Rafter; (.578) 11-8 Michael Chang, Wayne Ferreira; (.576) 15-11 Tim Henman; (.571) 16-12 Goran Ivanisevic; (.571) 8-6 Paradorn Srichaphan; (.571) 4-3 Sergi Bruguera, Alberto Martin; (.565) 13-10 Carlos Moya; (.555) 5-4 Karol Kucera; (.545) 6-5 Guillermo Canas, Davide Sanguinetti; (.538) 7-6 Kenneth Carlsen, Mark Philippoussis; (.533) 16-14 Greg Rusedski; (.533) 8-7 Richard Krajicek, Max Mirnyi; (.529) 9-8 Gustavo Kuerten;
(.500) 11-11 Marat Safin; 10-10 Thomas Enqvist; 9-9 Thomas Johansson; 8-8 Marc Rosset; 7-7 Andrei Medvedev; 5-5 Nicolas Escude, Gaston Gaudio;
(.481) 13-14 Fabrice Santoro; (.466) 7-8 Jonas Bjorkman, Felix Mantilla; (.454) 5-6 Mariano Zabaleta; (.428) 3-4 Fernando Vicente; (.421) 8-11 Sebastien Grosjean; (.416) 5-8 Jason Stoltenberg; (.411) 7-10 Albert Costa;
(.388) 7-11 Jim Courier; (.333) 3-9 Bohdan Ulihrach; (.307) 4-7 Andrei Pavel;
(.250) 3-9 Dominik Hrbaty;
(.000) 0-9 Wayne Arthurs
# Most match points saved in the 90s:
10 – Alberto Martin d. Adrian Voinea 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 (Bucharest ’99)
9 – Albert Costa d. Sjeng Schalken 6-7, 7-6, 6-3 (Barcelona ’96)
9 – Felix Mantilla d. Alberto Berasategui 1-6, 7-6, 7-6 (Hamburg ’98)
9 – Martin Rodriguez d. Guillermo Canas 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (Santiago ’98)
Comparison with players of the next generation
I needed a couple of years to have a possibility creating such a statistic and I know that making something similar given players born in the 60s or 50s is rather pointless due to the lack of proper database, however, there’s a solid database as far as the best players of the 80s are concerned, so I’m able to show you them with a suggestion to adopt a +/- 2/2 error looking at their records:
(.705) 12-5 Boris Becker; (.666) 4-2 Mats Wilander; (.642) 9-5 Stefan Edberg;(.600) 9-6 Ivan Lendl; (.416) 5-8 John McEnroe
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46th Week – Davis Cup (final)

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Prague (indoor-hard):   Czech Republic – Spain    3:2 From left: Jaroslav Navratil (cpt.), R.Stepanek, T.Berdych, L.Rosol, I.Minar… Pavel Korda, Jan Kodes,  Pavel Slozil, Tomas Smid & Ivan Lendl The Czechs become the first nation to win Hopman Cup, Fed … Continue reading

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Wimbledon 1988

It was a breakthrough tournament for Stefan Edberg. The 22-year-old Swede had admittedly won Australian Open twice (less prestigious at the time than nowadays), but he was mainly recognized as an excellent doubles player prior to 1988, when he decided to concentrate more on singles’ career and it paid off during two weeks at Wimbledon. Read more…      I’ve added this week statistical summary of 2012. The 2012 time-line and descriptive summary will be added later this month.
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World Tour Finals – finals

(1)Novak Djokovic d. (2)Roger Federer  7-6(6), 7-5    [2:14 h]

It was extremely prestigious final: the most successful player in the history of this tournament vs. the best player of the last two years. The level of the final fulfilled expectations (96-95 in points for the champion). The 1st set lasted 70 minutes which is a very long distance given Federer’s standards. Nothing indicated it would last so long at the beginning, it was “FedExpress style”, the Swiss jumped to a 3:0* (deuce) lead. The initial setback didn’t irritate Djokovic, even though he lost to ‘love’ first set to Federer a few months earlier in Cincinnati. He broke Federer twice and was serving at 5:4 (30/0) when his strong forehand was sent ‘out’ by inches. The final turned into a topsy-turvy battle, a moment later Federer was in similar position leading 6:5 (30/0) – D’Joke put it to the tie-break with very good serves. Federer played amazing point to level at 6-all in the tie-break with a combination of stretch-volley and passing-shot hitting backwards to the net! He made a backhand error afterwards, and Djokovic converted his third set point (he blew the first one in the 10th game) with an inside-out forehand winner. Federer began the 2nd set grabbing an 11-minute break-game. It could set up the third set, however, Djokovic is a hell of a fighter: he held at 1:3 saving a break point, later on trailed 3:5; Federer led 5:4 (40/15) on serve, so avoiding the decider seemed almost impossible… he made two errors though, especially the first one was painful for him and his fans because it was a solid forehand narrowly missed (Djokovic wouldn’t have replied on it). The Serb got four points in a row, broke back, and it pumped him up tremendously. He took the next two games to ’30’, delivering fantastic backhand passing-shot DTL on his first match point. Djokovic’s 34th title, the second ‘Masters’ triumph, certainly much more gratifying than the previous one claimed four years ago in Shanghai (he didn’t face any of the Big 4 players then). “It’s very satisfying for my team and myself to conclude this fantastic season with a World Tour Finals win,” said Djokovic. “I never got to the finals of this tournament in London. The furthest I got is semi-finals a couple years ago where I lost straight sets to Roger. I wasn’t really feeling this surface very well in past couple of years. But this year has been different. I got motivated, got a little bit more physically fresh. I wanted really to fight and I really wanted to get as far as I can in this tournament. Winning all the matches I played makes it even more special.” Stats of the match

(6)M.Granollers/M.Lopez d. (5)M.Bhupathi/R.Bopanna  7-5, 3-6, [10-3]   [1:30 h]
Perhaps it was a lifetime opportunity for Bhupathi to finally win ‘Masters’, facing a pair of debutants deprived even of Grand Slam finals. The 38-year-old Indian, who has won all majors in mixed doubles, and three different majors in doubles (misses Australian Open) lost his fifth ‘Masters’ final in the last 15 years! # Both he and Bopanna made a few childish errors in the super tie-break. At first glance the Spanish duo doesn’t seem as a real threat, they both play on the back of the court on serves (Granollers sometimes runs forward in his service games, he is also more active at the net overall; 1st set against the Indians was won after his excellent BH reflex-volley), but this arrhythmic pace is their strength. Even though Spaniards are easier to break than most of the top doubles pairs, they are better than the rest on return games with their heavy top-spins and offensive lobs which cause plenty of volley errors. It’s 9th doubles title for both Spaniards… The 30-year-old Lopez was discovered in some sense for the tennis world as a doubles player thanks to Rafael Nadal, who wanted to improve his volley skills partnering Lopez from time to time or Tommy Robredo. Until 2009, Lopez hadn’t even won a doubles title, he was more an unfulfilled singles player through many years (in 2001 he had made a sensational ATP debut reaching semifinal in Stuttgart, but never repeated that achievement wandering at the Challenger level).
# Bhupathi’s failed final attempts to win ‘Masters’:
1997, 99 – Hartford; 2000 – Bangalore (p/Paes)
2010 – London (p/Mirnyi)
2012 – London (p/Bopanna)
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World Tour Finals – semifinals

2nd semifinal:

(2)Roger Federer d. (3)Andy Murray  7-6(5), 6-2    [1:33 h]

Their third meeting this year in London after Wimbledon (Federer won 3-1) and Olympics (Murray won 3-0)… The Scot, who got their last two matches easily (Olympics and Shanghai) began on Sunday evening in a full of vigor attitude, his flat backhand was working exceptionally well, he was 3:1* (30/0) ahead. At 30-all in that game, Federer finally played a scintillating forehand winner, and yelled “come on!” He broke back in the 8th game. In the tie-break Murray led 3:1* once again, the sixth point of that tie-break was vital – Federer prevailed a 22-stroke rally with a forehand inside-out winner. When he led 5:4*, Murray netted a forehand which he should have played much more better, he broke the top of his racquet right after, and was booed by numerous groups of Federer’s fans. Once Federer got the opening set, he felt comfortably out there, his serve was magnificent in the 2nd set, Murray seemed indifferent since he lost his serve leading 40/0 in the 3rd game (lost five points in a row in a bad style). The Swiss added another break in the 7th game and served out the match to ’15’ displaying two fruitful S&V actions. He will play in ‘Masters’ final for the eight time, one final shy of accomplishment of Murray’s coach Ivan Lendl. “I think he played well,” said Murray. “I didn’t think it was incredibly high standard in terms of length of points. There were a lot of quick points. I started the match well. […] Once he gets ahead, he’s incredibly hard to stop. He tends to play better and better when he gets up.”

1st semifinal:

(1)Novak Djokovic d. (6)Juan Martin del Potro  4-6, 6-3, 6-2    [2:12 h]

The best player of the last two seasons proposed high standard from the very beginning. Del Potro managed to save two break points in the 2nd game, the second one with a terrific forehand down the line from the tram-lines, and got into the atmosphere of the O2 arena. Djokovic started very aggressively, Del Potro was forced to play several moon-lobs, two of them caused Djokovic’s pretty embarrassing overhead errors which might have affected his mindset even though he led 4:3 after seven holds. The Argentine took the initiative winning 5 out of next 6 games, including a break at 1-all in the 2nd set after a punishing rally consisted of many slices. Djokovic stayed cool, broke back immediately (after two ‘deuces’) putting himself in the driving seat. Although it was their seventh meeting, for the first time went to a deciding set. In the 3rd game of the decider, DelPo made two crucial narrow forehand errors, four games later he was broken again, this time D’Joke hammered it out striking brilliant forehands. He capitalized his superiority with huge serves and celebrated his second advancement to ‘Masters’ final (first one in Shanghai 2008) to the tune of David Bowie’s “Heroes”. Third time lucky in London for him, he lost two semifinals there in 2012 (Wimbledon to Federer, Olympics to Murray), now moves one step further. “Nole improved his game, basically, between the middle of the second set until the end of the match,” said Del Potro. “He deserved to win today. I think I played really good in the first two sets. If you don’t play [for the] whole match [at] your best level, it’s really difficult to beat him.”

Doubles semifinals:
(5)M.Bhupathi/R.Bopanna d. (3)L.Paes/R.Stepanek 4-6, 6-1, [12-10] – 1 m.p.
(6)M.Granollers/M.Lopez d. (8)J.Marray/F.Nielsen 6-4, 6-3
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World Tour Finals – Day 5 + 6

Group B – second round: Day 6
12. (4)David Ferrer d. (8)Janko Tipsarevic  4-6, 6-3, 6-1    [2:06 h]
No pressure at all, in fact some kind of an exhibition encounter, forgetting about 200 ATP points at stake (50 points more than gets a runner-up of the smallest ATP tournaments). The last match of the season for Tipsarevic, Ferrer with two rubbers against Czech players in a prospect next weekend. Obviously under these circumstances the Serb started with bigger eagerness. Actually the Spaniard was disinterested in the initial phase, perhaps frustrated that even straight sets victory wouldn’t give him a semifinal berth. Tipsarevic won first four games without any troubles, at 0:4 down “the Spanish terrier” felt the temperature of the match and even had a break point to level at 5 games all. Until the second break of the 3rd set all semifinalists were kept in a state of unconsciousness who would play who on Sunday: if Tipsarevic won, Federer would face Djokovic whilst the other semifinal pair would be consisted of Murray & Del Potro.
Group Standing:
1. Federer, 2 wins, 5-2 sets (.714)
2. Del Potro, 2 wins, 5-3 sets (.625)
3. Ferrer, 2 wins, 4-4 sets (.500) *
* If Tipsarevic had won against Ferrer, DelPo would have finished on top because his match against Federer would have been decisive instead of the sets ratio
11. (6)Juan Martin del Potro d. (2)Roger Federer  7-6(3), 4-6, 6-3    [2:00 h]
It was a tricky match for Federer. He had guaranteed semifinal spot, both Murray and Djokovic are so tough, that calculating which one is a better match-up in semifinals was rather pointless for him, nonetheless he said he would like to play Murray, who had beaten him twice lately instead of Djokovic whom the Swiss had defeated twice in the last four months… Could he say something different not being accused on unfairness? Anyway, Federer needed to get one set to top his group on the assumption Tipsarevic wouldn’t beat Ferrer – well, this is comicality of the ’round robin’ format. Ok, eliding from those off court things, here is a summary of the match which equaled a record for the most encounters between players within a season #: no breaks of serve in the 1st set with a highlight at 4:3 for Federer when both guys displayed great skills in two consecutive games including two hot-dogs; 2nd set – Del Potro loses opening two games to ‘0’; 3rd set – Federer is broken to ’30’ in his opening service game with rather poor effort. Game over. Four semifinalists of the Olympic event in London again are placed in semifinals in London. Ferrer is eliminated no matter what happens in his last match. Period. 
# Eight meetings between two players within a year:
2011: Roger Federer vs. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (6-2)
2012: Roger Federer vs. Juan Martin del Potro (6-2)
Group A – third round: Day 5
10. (3)Andy Murray d. (7)Jo-Wilfried Tsonga  6-2, 7-6(3)    [1:36 h]
Tsonga got into the match like he didn’t believe in straight sets victory which would promote him further. In contrary, Murray caught the highest level of concentration as early as in the opening game, exposing Tsonga’s weakness on the backhand side. If Murray had converted a break point leading 2:0 in the 2nd set, Tsonga would have finished this tournament in quite pathetic style. He somehow hung in, Murray’s supporter, a famous actor Kevin Spacey entered the grandstand after five games of that set, Murray loosened up, and the crowd started to cheer for the Frenchman (!) counting on more entertaining spectacle. Tsonga broke back and even had a set point at 6:5* – sent a forehand wide. Murray, so good in tie-breaks in the last two years, came back on the right track after three consecutive tie-break defeats, and won it firmly with an ace as a final accent. Tsonga finishes 2012 losing four matches in a  row – it’s his worst streak at the main level. Last year at this stage of the year he began arguably his best three-tournament period, reaching finals in Paris & London, and winning Doha  in January 2012. He loses a lot of points for first two tournaments, if he doesn’t defend the title in Qatar or play greatly in Melbourne, he will drop outside the Top 10 in the first quarter of 2013.
9. (1)Novak Djokovic d. (5)Tomas Berdych  6-2, 7-6(6)    [1:37 h]
D’Joke needed winning a set to finish the group as a leader. It’s a very nice mindset when you face a guy whose you’ve beaten nine times in a row. The Serb didn’t want to play anything spectacular, he was just concentrated on delivering long, flat balls on Berdych’s ‘no-mans land’ to decompose his best attributes. Djokovic lost his service game leading 2:1 in the 2nd set and the entire group situation became a bit more complicated. The Czech player raised his game above his normal level to get a 5:1* lead in the tie-break. At that moment he could even reasonably expect winning this match based on experiences of both players: Djokovic tanked the last set in similar circumstances four years ago, so did Ferrer playing last year against… Berdych. Djokovic got two quick points from *3:6 thanks to big serves, Berdych hit 130 mph on third set point, but Djokovic responded with a great return causing Berdych’s error. Three wasted set points built too much pressure in Berdych’s mind, he missed two easy balls, and is already outside the tournament with more time to prepare himself for the Davis Cup final next week: “I hope that the best moment is still to come.” This outcome opens a gate for Tsonga – if he beats Murray in straights, he will play in semifinals.
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World Tour Finals – Day 3 + 4

Group B – second round: Day 4
8. (6)Juan Martin del Potro d. (8)Janko Tipsarevic  6-0, 6-4    [1:16 h]
The Serb had some bizarre problems with his equipment, he broke strings in his four racquets (twice already during the warm-up!). Actually since *0:4 in the 1st set the match was pretty equal (DelPo broke in the 5th game on 6th break point which signalized Tipsy’s improvement), but the Argentine is too experienced to lull into a false sense of security. He got a vital break at 2:2, and finished the match winning all service games of the 2nd set to ’15’. With just four games won in each of his two matches, Tipsarevic looks like the biggest “whipping Masters boy” since 1994 (Alberto Berasategui). Because he is so prone to retire, I’m afraid he may pull out of his last match against Ferrer. In four matches against Del Potro thus far, he hasn’t won a set yet.
7. (2)Roger Federer d. (4)David Ferrer  6-4, 7-6(5)    [1:48 h]
[If Not Now, When?] could think Ferrer before entering the court. Federer is his worst match-up, but Ferrer was more self-confident than ever having won 11 indoor encounters in a row. Last time they met (Madrid) Ferrer was trying to hit 2nd serves with additional risk, this time he came back to his standard plan assuming there’s no need for experimentation because everything worked out over years has been perfectly functioning in the last two weeks. He can’t blame himself for another loss, he played pretty good, ambition match, nonetheless Federer was always one step ahead (jumped to 3:0* in the 1st set saving six break points in the process). In the tie-break, the Swiss struck two great serves from 4:3 up, and another one on match point. It’s his 14th win over the Spaniard in 14th mutual meeting – one of the most lopsided H2H’s in the Open era # The Swiss becomes the first semifinalist with a perfect 2-0 (4-0 sets) record after two rounds of the tournament.
# Most lopsided H2H’s with no wins for one of players:
17-0 Bjorn Borg vs. Vitas Gerulaitis (1974-1981)
17-0 Ivan Lendl vs. Tim Mayotte (1980-1990)
16-0 Ivan Lendl vs. Brad Gilbert (1982-1991)
16-0 Ivan Lendl vs. Scott Davis (1980-1991)
15-0 Bjorn Borg vs. Harold Solomon (1974-1980)
14-0 Roger Federer vs. David Ferrer (2003-2012)
14-0 Roger Federer vs. Mikhail Youzhny (2000-2012)
Group A – second round: Day 3
6. (5)Tomas Berdych d. (7)Jo-Wilfried Tsonga  7-5, 3-6, 6-1    [1:52 h]
Last year at the O2 Arena they fought against each other for a final berth, twelve months later completely different scenario: who wins – extends chances for semifinals. Berdych is recently too consistent for Tsonga, it showed their October matches in Shanghai and Stockholm, it confirmed their scuffle in London. Tsonga seems confused and torn between natural will for improvisation and a tactical concept which supposedly prepared for him the new coach. The Frenchman was spreading shanks from both wings the entire match and is already almost eliminated from the event, rather in lousy style (he needs to beat Murray 2-0 on the assumption Djokovic beats Berdych 2-0 as well). He will have to figure out something brand-new to play in London next year because his record against Top 10 players in 2012 is abysmal, so his fall outside the Top 10 probable soon. “I don’t like mathematics at all. I will try to play tennis, and that’s it. I will try my best. But Novak just [has] shown how great he’s playing right now and that he deserve to be [the] No. 1 player in the world. It’s a huge challenge for me.” said Berdych on his next match. 
5. (1)Novak Djokovic d. (3)Andy Murray  4-6, 6-3, 7-5    [2:34 h]
Fantastic rivalry between Murray and Djokovic continues. This match maybe couldn’t be classify among the most beautiful ones (many unforced errors; rather lack of breathtaking points), but it’s woth mentioning they met seventh time this year and as always in 2012 there was intensity and uncertainty until the last point. The Scot (very likely dressed up in yellow shorts for the first time on tour) won the toss and elected to receive which was a good choice – he broke immediately winning on a break point perhaps the best point of the match (running forehand passing-shot after a long rally). It decided the outcome of the set because Murray was serving as good as in the 3rd set against Berdych (again he didn’t lose a point on 1st serve!). There was 1:1 in the 2nd set when Djokovic fought off a break point with a lucky drive-FH-volley hitting an intersection of side- and baseline. The Serb got a break in the 6th game after Murray’s failed attempt to play S&V. Djokovic gained another break at 1-all in the decider in the consequence of Murray’s backhand errors. The Scot didn’t surrender, he saved break points at 1:3 & 2:4, and managed to establish a good position to beat his peer. He led 5:4* (30/15) when very cool Djokovic played a dropshot and Murray slipped trying to chase it. In the following point Serbian player attacked the net with an on-line forehand approach to put away BH-volley winner. Well, Murray had notched amazing streak of three consecutive tournaments lost having match points prior to London, I guess those wasted chances could haunt him as he lost again a game being so close to victory. At 5-all he played one of the worst service games lately, making three errors directly after Djokovic’s return. In the 12th game he was 40/15 ahead, but Djokovic responded with good serves, took four points in a row and celebrated with a calm fist-pump. Djokovic and Murray are just fourth pair to play seven matches against each other within a season: John McEnroe vs. Ivan Lendl (1984), Michael Chang vs. Jim Courier (1995), Rafael Nadal vs. Djokovic (2007 & 2009), Djokovic vs. Murray (2012).
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World Tour Finals – Day 1 + 2

Group B – first round: Day 2
4. (4)David Ferrer d. (6)Juan Martin del Potro  6-3, 3-6, 6-4    [2:16 h]
The hottest indoor players this season (Ferrer 12-1 record, Del Potro 18-2), which sounds funny given the fact Argentines and Spaniards were considered for many years as clay-court specialists. Despite playing third consecutive week almost day by day, Ferrer’s footwork was outstanding. The Spaniard was a dominant figure in the first 12 games, being close to get the first set even 6-1. At 1-all in the 2nd set, Del Potro survived his service game after 6 ‘deuces’ and 4 break points, one of them awarded to Ferrer after Lars Graff’s mistake – the Swedish umpire, who is finishing this year his career on chair, confirmed linesman’s call ‘out’ on Del Potro’s outright winner. ‘The Tandil tower’ came back from *1:4 in the decider to the tie, but Ferrer played crisply in the 10th game obtaining final break to ‘love’. “It was a really tough match, [it] was very close [and] we had very good rallies,” said Ferrer. “I’m very happy with my game. Maybe this year, I am playing more aggressive with my shots. I am going to the net more to finish the points.” Del Potro has lost four straight matches to Ferrer in four different conditions (clay, hard, grass, indoors) – in the last twelve months.
3. (2)Roger Federer d. (8)Janko Tipsarevic  6-3, 6-1    [1:09 h]
Tipsarevic deserves to play in London because his ranking-advantage over the next two players amounts 475 points, however, in my opinion his adherence to “the tennis elite” is doubtful, he is distinctively below “second big 4” in terms of potential damage. Federer exposed it on Tuesday, breaking the Serb four times, and being taken to ‘deuce’ just once in eight service games. The Swiss improves their H2H to 6-0 (five easy wins) extending winning streak at World Tour Finals to 11; it’s his 40th win at ‘Masters’ events – moves him out of tie with Ivan Lendl for the most wins at the tournament. “I’m happy with my level of play today against Janko, who is obviously a good player. I think it’s nice conditions here. I’ve had a good year. It’s true, I feel like I’m striking the ball well after today. I hope it’s a sign for more to come hopefully.” said Federer.
Group A – first round: Day 1
2. (1)Novak Djokovic d. (7)Jo-Wilfried Tsonga  7-6(4), 6-3   [1:39 h]
There was one interesting circumstance preceding the match – Djokovic, the best player of the last two years, arrived to London having lost four consecutive matches indoors (two last year at Masters, one at this year’s Wimbledon, and another one last week in Paris). The lack of wins indoors was visible in Djokovic’s shots in the 1st set, he found himself a couple times off balance. Tsonga was optically better until the tie-break. Perhaps his new coach Roger Rasheed (their second tournament together) invented new tactics for his pupil – Tsonga, the fifth player this year in number of aces, hit just one ace in the 1st set due to mixing up the speed, but held six service games easily, playing more sliced backhand than usual. Djokovic in the last two games of that set dived twice, lost points on both occasions, but it didn’t discourage him to further attacks, one of them was crucial in the tie-break (gave him a 4:1 lead). The 2nd set was totally under Serbian control, he broke twice to notch 5th win over the Frenchman in 2012.
1. (3)Andy Murray d. (5)Tomas Berdych  3-6, 6-3, 6-4     [2:16 h]
The opening set of the tournament was a bit deceptive in terms of the scoreline. Murray blew seven break points in total, in three different games. He had some rallies at those chances but usually Berdych was able to escape with either big serves or powerful drive-volleys. The Scot, playing in a new outfit, reminded in the two following sets he is a brilliant on-court thinker, he started to hit ground-strokes closer to the baseline, implemented variety of shots, attacked the net a couple of times, increased the speed of serves (didn’t drop a point on 1st serve in the deciding set!). The crucial breaks for him came at 2:1 in the 2nd set and 1-all in the decider. “I think it was a very, very good and solid match, from both of us. Unfortunately, small details just decided it today. I think the biggest moment was in the second set, 1-1, when I had [three] breakpoints.” said Berdych referring to missed opportunities. Murray ties their H2H to 4:4, it was their fourth match this year (3:1 Murray).
Group A:
1. Novak Djokovic – 6th appearance (1 title)
3. Andy Murray – 5th appearance
5. Tomas Berdych – 3rd appearance
7. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga – 3rd appearance
Group B:
2. Roger Federer – 11th appearance (6 titles)
4. David Ferrer – 4th appearance
6. Juan Martin del Potro – 3rd appearance
8. Janko Tipsarevic – 2nd appearance *
9. Richard Gasquet (alternate)
* Currently 4th player in the world, Rafael Nadal, withdrew
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