Defending champion Novak Djokovic opened his ATP World Tour Finals 2013 campaign by prevailing in a back and forth clash against a six-time season finale winner Roger Federer. It is the second time the Serb defeated the fifth-seeded Swiss Maestro in the last three days after denying him the Paris Masters title on Sunday.
There was little between the players in the first set as they both held comfortably up to 4-4 when Nole handed his opponent a break point after the second double fault of the game. FedEx attacked in the follow-up rally, but he sent a strong forehand shot agonizingly wide before allowing the second seed Serb to hold an important serve. Federer was immediately punished for squandering his chance as he fell 15-40 behind in the following service game and let Djokovic take the opener on the second set point.
A real roller-coaster of a set would follow in which Federer rescued a pair of break points in the second game before seizing Novak’s serve in the fifth one. The Serb pegged right back, but was stunned again as Roger broke to love to restore his lead. The Swiss got extremely close to leveling the terms at 5-4 as he prepared a set point thanks to a service winner, but Djokovic was solid as ever in this kind of situation and took advantage of the rival’s errors to make it 5-5. He rescued yet another break point in the subsequent service game before ultimately facing Roger in a tie-break showdown. After a nervous start of the thirteenth game, FedEx won a brilliant point at the net to obtain a mini-break which he confirmed for a 4-2 lead. Djokovic failed to get back into rhythm after the change of sides and was helpless to prevent a decider.
However, World no. 6 Swiss ran out of steam in the final set where he got broken to love in the initial game before going two breaks down by 4-1. Nole was in his own world in those moments and marched to another three-set triumph over his archrival in the last few days. He put icing on the cake of his rampant performance in the deciding set by holding to love and secure a 6-4, 6-7 (2), 6-2 win to join Juan Martin del Potro at the top of the Group B table in London.