2014/09/01

Djokovic Returns to No. 1, Qualifies for ATP World Tour Finals

 

 

(July 7, 2014) ATP World Tour – LONDON – Novak Djokovic today returns to No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings for the first time since the week of 30 September 2013. And in a double reward for capturing his second Wimbledon title on Sunday, Djokovic has earned the right to play for a fourth Barclays ATP World Tour Finals crown, at The O2 in London from 9-16 November.

In lifting his seventh Grand Slam championship trophy with victory over Roger Federer at the All England Club, Djokovic overtakes Rafael Nadal at No. 1 and begins his 102nd week at the top of men’s professional tennis – the eighth-longest overall reign.

On reclaiming the No. 1 spot and qualifying for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, Djokovic said, “It feels great not only to win Wimbledon again but also to return to No. 1 in the [Emirates] ATP Rankings. I got to No. 1 for the first time in my career after winning Wimbledon in 2011 so it is nice to do it again here. I can’t wait to return to London to defend the [Barclays] ATP [World Tour] Finals title. I have had a good run there in the past two years. I really enjoy playing at The O2.”

Watch: Djokovic Reclaims No. 1 ; Djokovic Qualifies For London

The 27-year-old Djokovic, who will be making his eighth straight appearance at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, has become the first singles player to qualify for the prestigious season finale. He first won the title in 2008 (d. Davydenko), when the tournament was held in Shanghai, and claimed back-to-back crowns at The O2 in 2012 (d. Federer) and 2013 (d. Nadal).

ATP Executive Chairman and President, Chris Kermode, said, “We are delighted that Novak has become the first player to book his place at this year’s Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at The O2 in London. He is having an outstanding season and is fully deserving of his place as current World No.1. Fans in the UK and around the world will already be looking forward to welcoming back this year’s Wimbledon champion to London in November, where he’ll be looking to win a third successive season-ending title.”

After finishing his 2013 ATP World Tour campaign with four straight titles, Djokovic extended his winning streak to 28 straight matches before a loss to Stan Wawrinka in the Australian Open quarter-finals. He won three ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles – at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, the Sony Open Tennis in Miami and Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome – and came up just short in his bid for a career Grand Slam, when he finished runner-up to Nadal at Roland Garros in a match with the No. 1 mantle on the line.

Djokovic first ascended to No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings on 4 July 2011, following his maiden Wimbledon triumph, and held the top spot for 53 weeks. He reclaimed the No. 1 ranking from Federer on 5 November 2012, before relinquishing it to Nadal on 7 October 2013. Djokovic was the year-end ATP World Tour No. 1 in 2011 and 2012.

The Barclays ATP World Tour Finals has welcomed more than 1.25 million fans to The O2 arena over the past five years, establishing itself as the biggest indoor tennis tournament in the world since moving to London in 2009. Tickets can be purchased at: www.BarclaysATPWorldTourFinals.com.

Emirates ATP Race To London – Top 15 (as of Monday, 7 July, 2014)

 

Singles
Pos. Name YTD Points
1. N. Djokovic (SRB) 7,250
2. R. Nadal (ESP) 6,645
3. R. Federer (SUI) 4,560
4. S. Wawrinka (SUI) 4,095
5. T. Berdych (CZE) 3,050
6. G. Dimitrov (BUL) 2,785
7. A. Murray (GBR) 2,435
8. K. Nishikori (JPN) 2,405
9. D. Ferrer (ESP) 2,385
10. E. Gulbis (LAT) 2,265
11. M. Raonic (CAN) 2,205
12. M. Cilic (CRO) 1,710
13. F. Fognini (ITA) 1,500
14. A. Dolgopolov (UKR) 1,410
15. J. Tsonga (FRA) 1,365


Bold denotes qualification

 

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Djokovic Defends the Season Ending Championship Title with win over Nadal

 

 

London-Final-Email-Djokovic

(November 11, 2013) LONDON – It was not quite the epic that the crowd had expected, but No. 2 Novak Djokovic overcame some spirited shot-making from No. 1 Rafael Nadal towards the end of the match to defend his title at the ATP World Tour Finals 6-3, 6-4.

 

It was perhaps a nervous start from the Spaniard, who was broken in his first service game before he seemed to settle enough to dish Djokovic a taste of his own medicine with a break to get things back on serve.

 

It was shortlived as he played a second game with a pair of double-faults – this time handing Djokovic a chance to serve for the first set, which he duly saw off with an ace to wrap that up in 44 minutes.

 

The Serbian kept the momentum with another early break at the start of the second set and this time he was looking the more dominant, but just not able to capitalize on a championship point.

 

It was around this point that Nadal was throwing caution to the wind and coming up with the kinds of winners we had seen throughout the tournament, but it was a case of too little too late, as Djokovic was rewarded on his third match point with a wayward shot from Nadal.

 

Nadal said the key to the match was the serve. “I think the level of tennis was similar, my opinion,” Nadal said.  “The level of serve was not similar.  That’s first thing when I think about the match, first image that I see.  If I can say about one thing that makes the difference in today’s match was the serve,  that I didn’t serve well, he served well, I didn’t.  So in this kind of court, first shot is very important, and he did that first shot much better than me.

 

“For the rest I felt that when I was playing, I was not far away off his level.  But he, you know, played with advantage almost all the match because I give him opportunities with my serve.”

 

Djokovic whose current win-streak is up to 22 spoke about his run:  “Well, next to the run that I had in 2011, this is definitely the second best I’ve had.  Just for me, the most positive thing that I can take from this two and a half months is the fact that I managed to regroup after a few big losses after Nadal, especially Roland Garros, US Open final and Wimbledon final.

 

“As I said, work harder and play better, become an even more skillful player.  I think I’ve worked on a few things in my game and serve that has helped me win a lot of matches in last two months.  This is definitely the best possible way that I can finish the season, of course, the official ATP season, not including the Davis Cup final that I have in a few days’ time, where of course I hope we can bring another title to our country.”

“This can serve as a great platform for 2014 season.  I’m extra motivated and inspired to work and get myself, first of all, rested and recovered in the off‑season, and then work on my game and get ready for Australian Open.”

 

For Nadal, it is now officially the end of his season, but Djokovic will have to pick himself up and get ready for the Davis Cup Final, where he will be expected to win both his rubbers if the Serbians want to have any chance of beating the Czech Republic.

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Novak Djokovic pushes Stanislas Wawrinka aside to reach the ATP World Tour Final

 

Djokovic

(November 10, 2013) Novak Djokovic made short work of his sometime nemesis Stanislas Wawrinka in the evening session semi-final on Sunday, as he swept past the Swiss in straight sets 6-3 6-3.

 

Wawrinka certainly made the more spirited start, breaking Djokovic early but the defending champion responded immediately with a break back, before punishing Wawrinka for a sloppy game with a break to serve for the first set.

 

Djokovic kept the pressure on by breaking early in the second set, and there was always a sense that Wawrinka was just over-hitting as the Serbian stayed in control.

 

After the match Wawrinka said: “I was little bit late physically.  Against him, that’s make a big difference.  I didn’t find a way how to move really inside the court when he give me a few balls.”

 

The defending champion is relishing the challenge, as the World Nos. 1 and 2 will contest the season ending finale against the game’s elite players, which seems a fitting end to the year.

 

Djokovic said: “This is probably the most competitive tournament that we have after Grand Slams in our sport, and we both want to crown this season in the best possible way and end it with a title.”

 

Tennis Panorama News is in London covering the ATP World Tour Finals.  Follow our twitter updates from the tournament @TennisNewsTPN.

 

Results

Singles – Semi-finals
[1] R Nadal (ESP) d [6] R Federer (SUI) 75 63

[2] N Djokovic (SRB) d [7] S Wawrinka (SUI) 63 63

Doubles – Semi-finals

[1] B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA) d [2] A Peya (AUT) / B Soares (BRA) 46 64 10-8
[6] D Marrero (ESP) / F Verdasco (ESP) d [3] I Dodig (CRO) / M Melo (BRA) 76(10) 75 

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Rafael Nadal Halts Roger Federer in London

Rafael Nadal

 

(November 10, 2013) LONDON – Rafael Nadal booked his place in the final of ht ATP World Tour Fianls after ending Roger Federer’s run in Saturday’s semi-final, in straight sets 7-5, 6-3.

 

The quality of tennis in the first set was breathtaking from the first ball with Federer opening up proceedings with an ace and neither man giving an inch.

 

The crowds in London have always been very supportive of Federer but the roof of the massive complex at the O2 was lifted off with roar after roar of approval as Federer found himself with three break point opportunities on Nadal’s serve. But the Spaniard saved the first with a thundering forehand, while Federer had his forehand to curse as the other two points went begging.

 

But if he was irritated by squandering those chances, he certainly made up for it by blasting through the next game to love. The first chinks in the Swiss armor started to show though when three breaks in a row pushed Nadal ahead, as he took the first set for the second time of asking.

 

It was just a simple error of judgment on Federer’s part to make a lackluster approach shot which simply begged for a Nadal winner to fly past him, securing the single break he needed to win the match.

 

After the match Federer said: “The margins were more on his side. He was playing more consistent. He was playing more solid. I just couldn’t come up with the shots when I needed them, forehand or serve, moving forward.

 

Nadal has won all his matches so far, and looked ahead briefly to the final:

 

“I think if I don’t play my best tomorrow, I [won’ t] have chances. I need to play more aggressive. It’s true that today I tried to play aggressive from the beginning, but is very difficult to play aggressive against a player who try to go for the shots in every ball.”

 

Tennis Panorama News is in London covering the ATP World Tour Finals.  Follow our twitter updates from the tournament @TennisNewsTPN.

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Despite Loss to Djokovic, Gasquet Finishes with a Flourish

 

Richard Gasquet

Richard Gasquet

(November 9, 2013) LONDON – After what had perhaps been a lackluster performance for the Frenchman at the World Tour Finals, Richard Gasquet put up a fight in his final round robin match at the ATP World Tour Finals on Saturday.

 

Facing defending champion and Wolrd No. 2 Novak Djokovic, who had already qualified for Sunday’s semi-finals, started quickly establishing a break, but Gasquet dug in to force a tie-break for the first set, but was edged out by Djokovic.

 

It did not deter the Frenchman, who worked hard to swing the momentum his way perhaps surprising the Serbian, who would have been hoping for an easier match ahead of his semi-final.

 

Djokovic quickly imposed himself on the deciding set, and once he had established a quick break, he never looked in danger of being caught, as Gasquet leaves London with perhaps a disappointing 0-3 record having worked so hard to qualify this year. Victory to Djokovic 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-3

 

There are plenty of positives for the Frenchman to take away though – he started and finished this season well, as well as reaching the US Open semi-final for the first time. It should provide him a useful platform for 2014.

 

Gasquet found out on Friday that his coach Riccardo Piatti resigned without giving notice.  Gasquet will work with part-time coach Sebastien Grosjean until he finds a new coach.

 

Djokovic now heads into the semi-final on Sunday on a 20-match winning streak, when he faces Stanislas Wawrinka.

 

Tennis Panorama News is in London covering the ATP World Tour Finals.  Follow our twitter updates from the tournament @TennisNewsTPN.

 

 

Results

Singles – Group B Round Robin
[2] N Djokovic (SRB) d [8] R Gasquet (FRA) 76(5) 46 63
[6] R Federer (SUI) d [4] J del Potro (ARG) 46 76(2) 75

Doubles – Group A Round Robin
[1] B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA) d [8] M Fyrstenberg (POL) / M Matkowski (POL) 46 63 10-5
[3] I Dodig (CRO) / M Melo (BRA) d [5] A Qureshi (PAK) / J Rojer (NED) 75 36 11-9

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Roger Federer Sets Up a Semi-final Clash with Rafel Nadal

Federer-001

(November 9, 2013) LONDON – In easily one of the best matches seen at the World Tour Finals this year, Roger Federer clinched a place in the semi-final after a hard fought match against Juan Martin Del Potro on Saturday.

 

Six-times a champion at the season-ending champions. Federer had to come back from 0-3 down in final set after going down a set to Del Potro, closing out the victory 4-6, 7-6(2), 7-5.

 

It has not been the greatest year for the Swiss and although he has been playing himself into form over the past couple of tournaments, when the tall Argentine went ahead, many feared this would be the end of his run in London.

 

But it was an impressive comeback in the second set despite being broken by Del Potro again early in the second set. Federer dominated the tie-break as the pair did battle for the third time in as many weeks.

 

Federer had to kick himself into gear after going down another break at the third of the start set.

 

“I was probably slightly angry more than thinking it’s going to be over soon,” said Federer, “It’s one of those moments today, because I kind of fought back the whole match – the first, second set. Here we go again.”

 

He certainly finished with a flourish, sending down an ace to set up the day session semi-final with Rafael Nadal.

 

Del Potro was left to rue his chances missed.

 

“I think I got two chances to win the match,” said del Potro. “I broke his serve in the second set and in the third one. But he played great when I was up, and he deserved to come back in both sets.”

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With Nadal Win, Wawrinka Moves into Semis of ATP World Tour Finals

Nadal

(November 8, 2013) LONDON – When Stanislas Wawrinka defeated a finally fully-wearied David Ferrer, all the talk in the post-match interviews was all about a place in the semi-final. And with good reason as his qualifying place depended on the outcome of the evening match between Rafael Nadal and Tomas Berdych.

 

As the match started with a typically driven Nadal was drilling through break points with ease, and no-one was really surprised when he kept that single break advantage in the first set 6-4.

 

Perhaps what was less expected was the revival from Berdych in the second set, racing ahead to a 5-0 lead before Nadal was allowed to register a game on the board.

 

By now the crowd was alive because they had wanted a thriller to savor, Wawrinka was perhaps sweating a little, and Berdych was playing like he had absolutely nothing left to lose.

 

If the crowd watching thought the final set would see a capitulation to the World No. 1 (as can so often be the case) they were sadly mistaken as the pair beat themselves up to holds, with thundering blows in every game.

 

Berdych blinked first – two double-faults handing Nadal a 5-3 advantage. A blitz of unforced errors sealed the deal – something that Berdych would be the first to admit in his post match press conference:

 

“It’s difficult to say I would do it different.  I mean, from the beginning of the second set, my level of game was quite high and I kind of felt that I’m going really on the edge, especially on my serve.  With him, it’s always very tough.”

Nadal finishes Group A with a perfect 3-0 record. He’ll face the winner of the Roger Federer – Juan Martin Del Potro Group B round-robin match in the semi-final on Sunday.

Tennis Panorama News is in London covering the ATP World Tour Finals.  Follow our twitter updates from the tournament @TennisNewsTPN.

 

More to follow…

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Stan Wawrinka Fights Off a Spirited David Ferrer for a Chance to Qualify

Stan Wawrinka

(November 8, 2013) LONDON – Switzerland’s Stanislas Wawrinka fought off a spirited battle from David Ferrer in their final round robin encounter to cling on to a hope of qualifying for the World Tour Finals semi-finals.

 

Many thought that it would be a round-robin too far from the Spaniard who has played an astonishing final schedule in the closing stages of the year, but the afternoon crowd were treated to a competitive first set which saw Ferrer surge ahead in the tie-break to put the Swiss on the back foot.

 

Even though Wawrinka managed to edge ahead in the second set, the passion from the Spaniard was evident as he killed a racquet stone-dead in sheer frustration while Wawrinka gave himself an all-important shot at a semi-final qualification as he leveled the match.

 

The initiative stayed with Wawrinka as Ferrer’s season came to a close, but with two round-robin wins, Wawrinka is dependent on the outcome of the match between Rafael Nadal and Tomas Berdych and all hinges on a Nadal win.

 

Wawrinka knew he had to capitalise on Ferrer’s tiredness, as he explained after the match:

“For me, the most important was to fight with myself to keep the ball in, to try to stay with him, to show him that I’m gonna play some long rally, that I’m going to try to be aggressive, but not rushing too much. That’s what I did better at the end. That [made] a big difference today.”

 

Ferrer acknowledged that his schedule this year had been tough:

“I played seven tournaments [in] seven weeks. But after last year I want to play in Stockholm because I didn’t play too many matches. Well I did final in Stockholm, final Valencia, final Paris and three matches here. Is too much.”

 

For Ferrer his season is now over, but Wawrinka will be cheering on Nadal as he will progress through to the semi-final on that result.

 

Tennis Panorama News is in London covering the ATP World Tour Finals.  Follow our twitter updates from the tournament @TennisNewsTPN.

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Novak Djokovic Seals Semi-final place in London

 

Djokovic wins 89

(November 7, 2013) LONDON – The defending champion Novak Djokovic is through to the semi-finals of the ATP World Tour Finals after defeating Juan Martin Del Potro 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.

 

Despite perhaps a shakier start than you would expect, pulled to deuce in the opening game, Djokovic quickly got into his stride, whereas Del Potro seemed to slide more than stride on a particular section of court, numerous times.

 

At times the crowd (who did seem to favour Del Potro as the underdog) were treated to some breath-taking shots from Djokovic and all it took was a single break to take the first set.

 

As can often be the way with the tall Argentinian, he needed to be behind to get that all important push, as he started to step up the aggression and add some much needed pace to his shots, and he too just needed a single break to take the match into a decider.

 

The third set saw both players perhaps a little tentative, and Djokovic seemed to be happy just doing enough to defend, but where Del Potro needed to find that pace again, there was just a sense that a break was on the cards.

 

In a match where the single breaks of serve all came at the score of 3-2, Djokovic’s consistency won through with a winning backhand down the line.

 

After the match he said: “I just needed to stay tough. I saved a few breakpoints in the start of the third set. [I] had opportunities in that game on 3-2, [and] used it. I just tried to make him play.”

 

Djokovic was asked if it’s been a frustrating year not claiming the No. 1 ranking. “Look, you know, it’s not frustrating for me,” said the six-time major winner.  “For me, actually it’s a very encouraging circumstances I am in right now the last two months.  I’m playing the best tennis I think I played throughout the whole season.  That’s something that I take as a positive for this moment and for obviously next season.  I’m definitely feeling confident, more confident than I was a few months ago.

 

“And Nadal has ended as world No. 1 in 2013, and he deserves that.  No question about it.  He won two Grand Slams.  He played the best tennis this year.”

 

Djokovic who is undefeated since the US Open final admitted that he has plenty of motivation since his Flushing Meadow’s loss.

 

“I cannot complain.  There is plenty of motivation.  As long as it’s like that, I’ll be pushing myself every day to work hard and hope that that work will pay off on the court.

 

“I did lose two big matches, finals of Wimbledon and US Open, and the one in semifinals of French Open was probably the toughest loss of the year.  But that’s sport.  You cannot win all the matches.  The most important thing is that when you’re down, you stand up and you become stronger.

 

“That’s kind of a motto that I have.”

 

Tennis Panorama News is in London covering the ATP World Tour Finals.  Follow our twitter updates from the tournament @TennisNewsTPN.

 

ATP World Tour Finals

November 7, 2013 Results

Singles – Group B Round Robin
[2] N Djokovic (SRB) d [4] J del Potro (ARG) 63 36 63
[6] R Federer (SUI) d [8] R Gasquet (FRA) 64 63

Doubles – Group A Round Robin

[1] B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA) d [5] A Qureshi (PAK) / J Rojer (NED) 76(3) 16 14-12 – saved 1 M.P.
[3] I Dodig (CRO) / M Melo (BRA) d [8] M Fyrstenberg (POL) / M Matkowski (POL) 63 36 10-2 

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Federer Gets First Victory at ATP World Tour Finals

Federer-001

(November 7, 2013) LONDON – Roger Federer got his first round-robin stage win on the board on Thursday afternoon, after defeating Richard Gasquet 6-4 6-3 at the ATP World Tour Finals in London. The win keeps his hopes of qualifying for the semi-finals here alive but it is still all to play for at the top of the group.

 

Federer, who is seeded sixth in London dispatched the Frenchman in just 79 minutes, in a match where he took the advantage early twice and Gasquet never really looked on terms to stay with the Swiss.

 

Gasquet remained so far back on the court that Federer was able to catch him out time and again at the net and with drop shots, as the Frenchman just looked to be slightly slower today.

 

If there were any jitters, perhaps they became more evident when it took Federer six attempts to close out the match, and with Gasquet still to face the defending champion Novak Djokovic, it is safe to assume that the Frenchman will not be in contention on Saturday’s final round-robin leg.

 

He said: “I’m taking a lot of experience playing this Masters because the level is very high, very difficult. So I need to improve on my game to play these guys.”

 

After the match, Federer admitted that it perhaps was not as easy a win as the score would suggest:

 

“Richard does a good job of making you feel uncomfortable at the same time as well because he uses heights, spins really well. He likes extended rallies [and] I’m trying to force the issue.”

 

“I think today was just a battle for myself, making sure I move the right way, I play the right way, I have the right shot selection.  Maybe also just getting used to the conditions a little bit.”

 

Federer is making his twelfth appearance at the season-ending championships and has only failed to advance out of the round-robin stages once.

 

Tennis Panorama News is in London covering the ATP World Tour Finals.  Follow our twitter updates from the tournament @TennisNewsTPN.

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