Tipsarevic Beats Djokovic to Mark His Place at the ATP World Tour Finals – Live Coverage
by Ahmed Ibrahim
Twists and turns. That is the Round Robin format of this ATP World Tour Final, and Novak Djokovic is no exception as he had to wait several more hours to find out if his stellar 2011 had come to an end. Unfortunately for Djokovic, his stay in London was cut short after an amazing year, as he lost to Janko Tipsarevic 3-6 6-3 6-3.
It cannot be easy playing against your fellow countryman in such a high-stakes match and many had predicted a virtual walkover by Djokovic; people questioned whether Janko Tipsarevic had it within him to beat the World Number 1 in such circumstances given past performances. How wrong they were.
The first set was a 2011 Djokovic performance and a straight sets victory was looking likely as he got out of the starting blocks and took the match to Tipsarevic. The forehands and backhands that had failed him against David Ferrer found life to devastating effect as he broke Tipsarevic at 1-2. Moving effortlessly with fluid shots, Djokovic held serve and took the first set with a blinding forehand cross-court winner.
It’s not surprising that many people in the Arena had never actually heard of Tipsarevic. He is a player who has laid quite low in recent years but came within a whisker of qualifying for the ATP World Tour Finals outright had he beaten Tomas Berdych in Paris. Still, he is here as the alternate for Andy Murray and has had the year of his career.
Throughout the second set Tipsarevic clung on to his game buoyed on by the 17,500-strong crowd in the O2 Arena. Djokovic began to lose steam and the errors that began his downfall against Ferrer started to make an unwelcome comeback. Tipsarevic pounced at the opportunity and broke Djokovic to lead 4-2 when Djokovic played an out-of-bounds dropshot that hit the net. Tipsarevic gave back the break but got things back together when Djokovic served a double-fault and hit a groundstroke into the net leaving Tipsarevic with a golden opportunity to serve for the set.
The loss of this set added complication to Djokovic’s prospects for qualification and his fate would lie in the hands of the night match between David Ferrer and Tomas Berdych. At this stage of the game it was evident to the crowd in the arena that Djokovic was running on fumes and no matter how they tried to cheer him encouragement he just could not respond in an adequate manner. Breaking and leading 5-3, Tipsarevic took the match as Djokovic slammed a forehand into the net.
Tipsarevic look somewhat ashamed as he acknowledged the crowd’s applause for having put a spanner in the works of the World Number 1’s progress in the tournament. Tipsarevic was the far better player in the second and third sets with a more consistent and aggressive game plan. He could not qualify for the Semi-Finals but he will take comfort at having beaten a World Number 1 to end his groundbreaking season.
For Djokovic, he would have to sit and wait the outcome of the night match but whatever the result he has had a year that he, and many tennis fans, will not forget for a longtime.
Ahmed Ibrahim is the author of the website Tennis Addict. He is in London covering the ATP World Tour Finals as a guest contributor for Tennis Grandstand. Follow his ATP World Tour Finals updates on his personal twitter@TennisAddict_