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ATP World Tour Finals 2013 Day 7: Nadal v Djokovic No.39

Rafael Nadal celebrates ending the year as world No.1
by Alexandra Willis at The O2 (Photo by Ella Ling)
Sunday 10 November 2013

Wimbledon.com's highlights from the seventh day of the  Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at London's O2 Arena...

Nadal bests Federer on an indoor court
Rafael Nadal beat Roger Federer on an indoor court for the first time in five meetings, Nadal sweeping aside Federer 7-5, 6-3 in what Federer described as a case of 'missed opportunities.' Nadal reached his 14th final in the 17th tournament of his extraordinary comeback year, improving his season match record to 75 wins, 6 losses.  

At 4-4 in the first set, Nadal broke, Federer broke back, before Nadal broke again to take the set. Just one break decided the second. 

"I think Roger played really aggressive, that's my feeling," said Nadal. "[At] the beginning, his serve worked very well. My feeling is in the first set, he played very well. So in my opinion until 4-4, he was playing better than me.

"I saved a few break points, very important ones, and then I played a good game when I had the break… The key of the match was probably at 5-5, after he had the break back in the first set, when I was serving for the set. I got the break another time to be 6-5 in my favour. That was very important."

"He was playing more consistent," said Federer, who ended his season with a 45-17 match record. "He was playing more solid. I just couldn't come up with the shots when I needed them, forehand or serve, moving forward."

It was the fifth time that Nadal and Federer had played one another at the season finale. Federer had previously won all four matches - twice in Shanghai (2006-07) and twice in London (2010-11) - at the eight-player championship.

Nadal has never won the season finale, the one major trophy, alongside the rather lesser Shanghai Masters, missing from his collection. 

"I hope to be ready for that for the last remaining match. I know it's going to be a difficult one. But I will try my best. I need to play my best match to have a chance tomorrow."

Djokovic notches up win No.21
Novak Djokovic meanwhile did what he had to to overcome new boy Stanislas Wawrinka in the second of the day's semi-finals, the defending champion winning 6-3, 6-3 in roaring fashion. 

Wawrinka was a break up in the early stages of the match, but, as he said rather ruefully afterwards, "one break is not enough."

"I had the feeling that I was playing good, hitting well the ball," said Wawrinka. "But I think I didn't have enough energy today. I think I was little bit late physically. Against him, that makes a big difference. I'm disappointed with myself because I had the feeling that could have done something better."

As a result, Djokovic advances to play Nadal for the 39th time in their extraordinary rivalry, Nadal leading the head-to-head 22-16. 

"We both have had great seasons, especially him," said Djokovic. "He finishes No. 1 in the world deservedly. Of course, whenever we play each other, it's a huge challenge and we both want to win. This is the probably the most competitive tournament that we have after [the] Grand Slams in our sport, and we both want to crown this season in the best possible way and end it with a title.

"Of course, [there is] no clear favourite in the final tomorrow. It's always expected that we [will] go the distance."

Set your watches. 

Bryans back on course
It hasn't been the best of tournaments for the Bryan brothers, the twins qualifying for the semi-finals at the last gasp. But they made it count on Sunday night at the O2, knocking out Alexander Peya and Bruno Soares by just a point's difference, 4-6, 6-4, 10-8, and keeping their hopes of a fifth season finale title alive. 

"You've just got to stay positive, believe and go for your shots when it gets tight," Mike Bryan told BarclaysATPWorldTourFinals.com. "It's pretty much a coin flip. Luckily we've gotten through here in the past three matches. You don't want it to go to the third set, but if you do you've just got to let your shots go and you need a bit of luck too.

"[Our performance] wasn't bad. You've got to play pretty good to beat those guys. I thought we served well. After the first set we really got our energy going, hit a few good returns and made it happen on the second shot. We were winning those two-up, two-back points, which was good."

They will meet surprise package Fernando Verdasco and David Marrero in the final on Monday afternoon, after the Spanish duo beat Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo 7-6(10), 7-5. 

"It's going to be a different style of play [in the final]," said Mike Bryan.

"The other group had the stay-back teams and we haven't played a team that serves and stays back. So we'll have to probably get out here early and work on that a little bit, maybe warm up for an extra half hour to get used to that style. We've played those guys before. You've just got to keep it away from their forehands. They like to set up and they can pretty much do anything when they have a forehand."

And finally...
Roger Federer isn't going anywhere just yet. 

“For me, it's pretty simple: This is what I used to do as a little boy. It's almost like I started walking at the same time I started playing tennis in some ways. It's like one of those moments where you're happy out on the court, you're happy improving, happy trying to change things, adjusting now. As long as I have this choice, I'll keep on playing.”



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