Roger Federer comes out on top in winner-takes-all clash with rival Novak Djokovic at the ATP Finals

Roger Federer comes out on top in winner-takes-all clash with rival Novak Djokovic at the ATP Finals

  • Federer claimed an impressive win over his great rival at the O2 Arena in London
  • The defeat eliminated second seed Djokovic from season-ending tournament 
  • The Swiss will face top seed Rafael Nadal or Stefanos Tsitsipas in the last four 
Advertisements

Perhaps nothing will ever make up for Wimbledon this summer, but Roger Federer secured a measure of revenge on Thursday night when he knocked Novak Djokovic out of the ATP Finals.

With a stunning display that evoked memories of his peak from some ten years ago, Federer defeated his most difficult rival 6-4 6-3 in just 72 minutes, to the delight of a packed 02 Arena.

By doing so he delivered a favour to another great rival, Rafael Nadal, who now cannot be caught by the 32 year-old Serb in the race to become the season-end world No 1.

Roger Federer enjoyed a measure of revenge by beating Novak Djokovic at the ATP Finals

Advertisements

Roger Federer enjoyed a measure of revenge by beating Novak Djokovic at the ATP Finals

The Swiss claimed an impressive win over his great rival at the O2 Arena in London

The Swiss claimed an impressive win over his great rival at the O2 Arena in London

The Swiss claimed an impressive win over his great rival at the O2 Arena in London

There were suggestions that Djokovic may have been slightly hampered by an injury to his elbow, which has been a problematic area for him, but few could have withstood the Federer blitzkrieg.

‘I couldn’t be happier right now,’ said the Swiss, who lost his opening match on Sunday. ‘I had a clear game plan and it worked to perfection.’

At times Djokovic’s body language was a little flat, and his early exit is quite a shock. He was heavy favourite to win the tournament and it had taken a remarkable display by Dominic Thiem to beat him in the previous match.

The defeat eliminated second seed Novak Djokovic from the season-ending tournament

The defeat eliminated second seed Novak Djokovic from the season-ending tournament

Advertisements

The defeat eliminated second seed Novak Djokovic from the season-ending tournament

Federer joins group winner Thiem in the semi-finals, with Nadal trying to join them when he faces Stefanos Tsistsipas this afternoon.

The Swiss had not beaten Djokovic since this event four years ago, and of all the 26 defeats he had suffered against him none will have stung more than this year at SW19.

Although it is not something he would admit to, the two match points that the Swiss forced at 8-7 in the deciding set that July afternoon have probably haunted him ever since.

Heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson with boyfriend and British hurdler Andrew Pozzi

Heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson with boyfriend and British hurdler Andrew Pozzi

Advertisements

Heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson with boyfriend and British hurdler Andrew Pozzi

At 38 he knows that time is extremely short to add to his tally of twenty Grand Slams, and it may yet prove that this was the last chance.

But if Federer is a popular figure across town in South West London the crowd favouritism towards him at the 02 Arena is probably even more pronounced.

It has become a regular on the itineraries of Swiss tennis enthusiasts and, with tickets easier to come by than The Championships, there was the usual hefty representation from his homeland coming to pay homage.

Nothing in the recent formbook suggested that he would prevent Djokovic from making the last four, but if the Serb does have a vulnerability it is that he can get distracted when the crowd is against him, which is often the case.

Actor Woody Harrelson was in the crowd for Thursday's showdown at the O2 Arena
Advertisements

Actor Woody Harrelson was in the crowd for Thursday's showdown at the O2 Arena

Actor Woody Harrelson was in the crowd for Thursday’s showdown at the O2 Arena

He was certainly edgy at the start, throwing in three double faults in his first two service games, and getting broken to love for 2-1, with the 17,000 crowd greeting him clinching the game with a football-style roar.

Djokovic only started playing to his accustomed level in the fifth game, with both men hitting beautifully crisp groundstrokes. Federer had not looked overly impressive in his first two matches, but now he seemed to be relishing the quicker conditions provided by this court and the balls being used, taking the ball early.

Bearing down with his aggressive strategy, Federer was underpinned by some superb serving. He comfortably protected his lead over the 35-minute first set by serving eight aces and landing 83% of first serves in, dropping only three points against serve.

Advertisements

Federer broke for 3-2 in the second set and then cruised home with some of Djokovic’s groundstrokes become alarmingly wayward, almost lazy in their execution. There were no dramas at the end with him being broken to love, with the penultimate point a forehand from Djokovic that sailed embarrassingly long.

Earlier Britain’s Joe Salisbury had failed to make the doubles semi-finals after he and partner Rajeev Ram were beaten 6-7, 6-4, 10-7 by Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo.

Former House of Commons speaker John Bercow was keen to voice his support for Federer

Former House of Commons speaker John Bercow was keen to voice his support for Federer

Former House of Commons speaker John Bercow was keen to voice his support for Federer 

 

- Advertisement -