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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