38-year-old, Roger Federer on Thursday 14th November 2019, showed once more, why he is the best, as he effortlessly defeated his rival, and one of the greatest in the game, Novak Djokovic at the ATP finals at the London 02 Arena.
The Swiss took home victory at the ATP final with one of the most difficult opponents in the tennis world, winning 6-4 6-3 in a round-robin match which eliminates the Serb second seed from the season-ending tournament in London.
Federer will meet top seed Rafael Nadal or Stefanos Tsitsipas in the last four. Djokovic’s defeat also means Spain’s Nadal is guaranteed to finish as the year-end world number one.
Nadal, 33, is far from certain of reaching the last four himself, needing a victory over Greek sixth seed Tsitsipas on Friday to have any chance.
However, if German seventh seed Alexander Zverev beats Russian fourth seed Daniil Medvedev then Nadal is out regardless of his result.
If results do go his way then Nadal will top the Andre Agassi Group and face Federer – who has finished second behind Austrian fifth seed Dominic Thiem in the Bjorn Borg Group – in Saturday’s semi-final.
Six-time champion Federer, who lost his opening match to Thiem, jumped for joy after clinching a victory which goes some way to avenging his defeat by Djokovic in an epic Wimbledon final in July.
Asked what he did differently at the O2, Federer said: “I won match point, I guess. It was so close to Wimbledon. It was a privilege to play that match, so many ups and downs.
“I couldn’t be happier right now. I think I served great, had great anticipation, clear game-plan and it worked great tonight – hopefully not for the last time against Novak”, he said.
The reigning Australian Open and Wimbledon champion Djokovic while responding to the outcome of the game, said:
“There was not much that I did right this match, to be honest. Realistically he was a better player in all aspects and absolutely deserved to win,” Djokovic said.
“He served great, moved well, returned my serve very well. From his end, I think he did everything right.
“From my end, I was just playing too neutral. I couldn’t read his serve well. Just a pretty bad match from my side.”
Afterwards, Djokovic played down the significance of the elbow injury, which occurred when he stretched for a return at the baseline in the second game of the second set.
The Serb said he hopes he will be fit for next week’s inaugural Davis Cup finals in Madrid.
“The pain was pretty sharp but I could play the rest of the match,” Djokovic said.
“If I had something really serious I think I wouldn’t have been able to hold a racquet. It did not pose any issues later on.”
Federer was the one who produced a high-quality performance at the crucial time, with Djokovic looking out of sorts and nursing an elbow injury in the final stages.
Federer dropped just three points on his serve in the first set, firing eight aces and winning all points behind his second serve, as even Djokovic’s famed defensive game could not cope with his accuracy.
While this victory will not completely make up for that bitter defeat at SW19, which denied him a 21st Grand Slam triumph, Federer’s delight at avenging it was clear.
Federer missed two championship points before going on to lose Wimbledon’s longest singles final in a historic final-set tie-break but ruthlessly took his first opportunity here as Djokovic disintegrated.