ATP World Tour Finals: Novak Djokovic to take on Roger Federer in dream final
Last Updated: 16/11/14 5:06pm
Novak Djokovic will take on Roger Federer in the final of the ATP Tour Finals at London's O2 Arena today after both had to dig deep in their semi-finals.
All week the tournament has seemed destined to come down to a meeting between the world's top two players but the script was nearly ruined.
Federer saved four match points to win an epic all-Swiss battle against Stan Wawrinka 4-6 7-5 7-6 (8/6) while Djokovic emerged from his first serious test of the tournament to beat Japan's Kei Nishikori 6-1 3-6 6-0.
Three times Federer saved match points at 4-5 - Wawrinka serving and volleying each time - before eventually breaking back to level at 5-5.
Wawrinka then had two chances to break again but missed them both and the match headed to a deciding tie-break.
After losing the second point, Wawrinka began to cramp, and the end looked nigh at 5-3 to Federer, but three points in a row gave his opponent a fourth match point.
A good serve took care of that, and two precision drop volleys earned second seed Federer the most dramatic of victories after two hours and 48 minutes.
Federer said: "I think I got lucky tonight. Stan played better from the baseline and that usually does the job on this court. But I kept fighting. It's tough but I'm thrilled to be in another final in London.
Looking ahead to the final, he said: "Novak is playing great tennis. It usually brings the best out of me. It's going to be tough but I'll give it a shot."
The pair have dominated the Tour Finals since 2006, winning all but one of the last eight tournaments.
Federer will be out to claim his seventh World Tour crown, while Djokovic is aiming to win his fourth and third consecutive title.
History is slightly on Federer's side in the final, as he has won 19 and lost 17 of the pair's 36 encounters. The Swiss ace has also won three of his five head-to-heads with Djokovic this year.
However, Djokovic is currently unbeaten in his past 31 indoor matches and beat Federer in straight sets in the final of the 2012 tournament.
Concentration could be an issue for Djokovic, who allowed the crowd to upset him as his march through the draw hit its first hurdle when he dropped the second set against Nishikori.
The flash point occurred in the second game of the second set when he became distracted by shouts from the crowd and dropped serve on a double fault before sarcastically applauding the fans and shaking his head.
He said: "I found it a little bit difficult mentally to stay concentrated throughout the whole match. After the emotional three matches I had, especially yesterday when I achieved the goal to finish (the year) as number one of the world, I felt a little bit flat.
"I cannot blame the crowd. The crowd has a right to do what they want.
"Some individuals that were going over the line throughout the whole match, some provocations that I usually don't react on, but I did.
"I lost concentration. I lost the break because of that. I allowed myself to be in the situation to lose the set, maybe even lose the match. So generally it was my fault and I should know better.
"At this stage of the season, of the tournament, mentally, the truth is that I'm exhausted.
"But knowing that tomorrow is the last match of the season, I'm sure that I will find any necessary drop of strength, mental and physical, to give it on the court."