By Ros Satar at the Nitto ATP Finals in London

  • Roger Federer [3] def. Novak Djokovic [2] 6-4, 6-3
  • Matteo Berrettini [8] def. Dominic Thiem [5] 7-6(3), 6-3
LONDON, UK – Roger Federer stunned Novak Djokovic in straight sets, guaranteeing Rafael Nadal the year-end No. 1 spot, and Matteo Berrettini leaves London with a win.

 

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Roger Federer [3] def. Novak Djokovic [2] 6-4, 6-3

In a winner-takes-all bout with implications for the season-ending No. 1 spot, not many people gave six-time champion Roger Federer much of a chance, given the way that Novak Djokovic had started the competition. Even allowing for his tight three set loss to Dominic Thiem, Djokovic looked as though he had the tenacity to go on forever, but earlier in the day had looked as though he was struggling with his elbow in practice.

Those troubles rose into sharp focus in the match as he winced and shook out his arm during the match, and never really found any kind of groove in the match. Federer struck before the first changeover having had a break-point in the first game, he made no mistake on his second chance, as the rest of the set proceeded tightly with no more chances for either man to break.

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Federer was always knocking on the door, starting the second set with a couple of chances to break before finding himself in the position of saving a break point. Djokovic could not convert on what would be his only chance in the match to gain a foothold over Federer, broken himself on the following game. The final cut was Federer breaking to love to advance into the semi-finals, and to rule Djokovic out of the race for the season-ending No. 1 spot.

After the match Djokovic said: “It was not much that I did right this match, to be honest. I mean, realistically he was better player in all aspects and absolutely deserved to win.

“He served great, moved well, returned my serve very well. From his end, I think he did everything right. From my end, I just — you know, I was just playing too neutral. I couldn’t read his serve well. Just a pretty bad match from my side.”

Djokovic is also scheduled to play in the Davis Cup Finals starting 18 November. Serbia’s first match is not until Wednesday 20 November but already the tournament has been hit with withdrawals at the end of a gruelling season.

He said, regarding his elbow: “I hope it’s nothing that will really unable me to play Madrid (sic). You know, the pain was pretty sharp. But I could play the rest of the match, so, you know, if I had something really serious, I think I wouldn’t be able to hold the racquet. So, it was probably just an awkward, quick movement that I did. It did not pose any form of issues later on.”

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Federer now advances to the semi-finals, where he will face the winner of Group Andre Agassi, and Friday’s matches will determine the order with all four players potentially in contention.

He said: “I felt from the get-go I had good rhythm off the baseline and on the serve and that I felt like he was living dangerously if he was not going to play great tennis. That was a good feeling to have, but then again, that doesn’t mean much because Novak has done an unbelievable job in his career to find ways to either make you play bad or to just be better on you on the day or squeeze another victory out like the way he did at Wimbledon.

“So, I knew the beginning wasn’t key, but I knew it was important. I had a great run on the serve, as well, throughout I think that first set. I was able to keep the pressure going and mix up my game, because he was playing incredibly aggressive at one point midway through the first set, which surprised me a little bit.

“Yeah, I think things just worked very well for me. Tonight, was one of those nights where, you know, I was clear in the game plan. I got what I kind of expected, and it was a great feeling at the very end. The reaction showed.”

The final round-robin matches take place on Friday.

 

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