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.
* 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.