WORLD No1 Novak Djokovic brought the curtain down on another vintage year last night by beating Roger Federer 7-6 (8-6), 7-5 in an enthralling encounter to win the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena.
Djokovic had lost their last two matches but came back from a break down in each set to win his second season-ending championship, having won the title in 2008 in Shanghai, and claim the £1.1m prize.
The Serb swept to three grand slams in 2011 compared to just one this year but, following his defeat of Federer, declared 2012 to be his most satisfying campaign yet.
“This is my time, my moment, and throughout the season I’ve had to believe in my abilities,” he said. “I’ve had a lot of success but some disappointing losses in the major events. But all in all it was a fantastic year. I had to face a lot of difficulties off the court especially this week with my [ill] father fighting his fight off the court, which gave me extra strength.
“I actually feel more satisfied right now than last year, even though I had an incredible 2011. I feel this year, considering the circumstances that I had to face on and off court, expectations, all these things, has been even more successful for me.”
Federer, who was seeking to win the trophy for a record seventh time and claim a third successive crown since the event has been held in London, took the initiative in the first set, winning the first nine points and racing to a 3-0 lead with some spectacular shot making. However Djokovic responded in typical fashion, breaking back after some relentless rallies to lead 5-4.
In response, Federer saved a set point and forced the set into a dramatic tie-break, where the momentum swung Djokovic’s way, forcing the errors from Federer at 6-6, taking the set at the third attempt.
The world No2, who ended Andy Murray’s hopes of a home triumph in the semi-finals, once again took command, breaking in the first game of the second set following some punishing rallies. He was 4-2 up and looked to be forcing the captivating final into a third and decisive set.
At 5-4 the Swiss had a set point but casually hit a forehand wide and consequently Djokovic broke back.
The match looked set for another tie-break, however Djokovic’s outrageous defence made Federer go for the corners, bringing up his first match point.
Federer could no longer hang on and Djokovic clinched victory with a sensational passing shot on the run.