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Tuesday at the O2: Federer picks up where he left off

Roger Federer takes to the court at London's O2
by Alexandra Willis at the O2 Arena (photo by Ella Ling)
Tuesday 6 November 2012

Highlights from the second day of the  Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at London's O2 Arena...

Welcome back Roger
If ever there was a way to prove that this tournament has become as much his back yard as the patch of grass across the city, it was the manner in which Roger Federer opened his title defence at the World Tour Finals today. Having never lost to Janko Tipsarevic, it is doubtful that Federer was unduly worried about his impeccable record under the O2's dome being dealt a knock. But, having had his Basle crown taken off him by Juan Martin Del Potro in the final, and having skipped the Paris Masters last week, today's 6-3, 6-1 win would have been a timely boost to his confidence. Federer's form was so purple, matching his shirt and shoes, that he even hit a drop shot return at one point, leaving Tipsarevic at a loss. 

"It's true, I feel like I'm striking the ball well after today. I hope it's a sign for more to come. I don't want to get ahead of myself. I'm happy the first one went so well and it takes some pressure off looking ahead in the next couple matches."

11 wins and counting...
One could forgive David Ferrer for being a little tired. The Spaniard is only player in the singles field to have played the full three-week stretch, and, having won Valencia, and then having won Paris, he's played the maximum matches he could possibly have played. And he has three more to go before he can finally hang up his Lotto headband. 

And, being Ferrer, the first of those was not an easy one. Juan Martin Del Potro has won two tournaments on the trot himself, in Vienna and then Basle, and, having had an easier week last week, had plenty of oomph to make life difficult for the Spaniard. But Ferrer is not known as the human wall for nothing, and wore down the big Argentine,  6-3, 3-6, 6-4.

“It was a really tough match, [it] was very close [and] we had very good rallies,” Ferrer said. “I'm very happy with my game. Maybe this year, I am playing more aggressive with my shots. I am going to the net more to finish the points.”

Marray and Nielsen magic
They may be the Wimbledon champions, but it's pretty certain that Jonny Marray and Freddie Nielsen would have had low expectations ahead of their debut at the ATP's season finale. The duo have played together just once since lifting the Wimbledon trophy in such surprising fashion at SW19 this June, but that didn't seem to hamper them against the all-Indian combination of Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna. 

Dressed in what looked very much like their Wimbledon whites, the pair saved two match points, Marray producing an extraordinary reflex smash on one of them, to triumph 6-4, 6-7(1), 12-10 and give the London crowd plenty to whoop about.

“Obviously we got off to a bit of a slow start,” Marray said. “They served really well and hit their spots on the serve. It was kind of difficult to get into that. But we kind of dug deep and stuck in there. Obviously, you know, found a way with a few strange little points to get back into the match tie-break." 

 “In doubles, especially at this level, it comes down to key points here and there, how you use the momentum of those points," Nielsen added. "They saved the match point at 6-5 [in the second set] and they built on that momentum. 

“They won the second set tie-break 7-1 and got up 5-1. By that time we were trying to look for that one point that could change the momentum in our favour. The 10-9 point was pretty crazy. We almost let it bounce between us at one point. Luckily Johnny had his Matrix reflexes out and a good agility by the end of the point to get up for the badminton smash.”

In the day's other doubles encounter, Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek beat Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi and Jean Julien Rojer on their World Tour Finals debut.

Looking sharp
That was Novak Djokovic, who received his year-end world No.1 trophy on court on Tuesday afternoon, dressed in a natty blazer, and accompanied by pet poodle Pierre.  The 25-year-old is the first player to clinch the year-end No.1 ranking in consecutive seasons since Roger Federer achieved four straight world No.1 finishes from 2004-07.

London still calling
The World Tour Finals will remain at London's O2 Arena for a further two years up until 2015, the ATP announced.  

Coming up on Wednesday

Robert Lindstedt and Horia Tecau v Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna
Both teams are looking for their first win of the tournament. 

Andy Murray v Novak Djokovic
Arguably the most hotly-anticipated match of the week yet. Murray and Djokovic contested a thriller in Shanghai, and of course an epic in New York. What will London bring? Djokovic leads their head-to-head 9-7.

Jonathan Marray & Frederik Nielsen v Max Mirnyi and Daniel Nestor
Can the Wimbledon champions work more miracles against the experienced second seeds? 

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga v Tomas Berdych
Firepower meets firepower. Berdych has won their last two meetings, both this year, and both on hard courts. So the odds are on that he will win his fourth match against the Frenchman in their fifth meeting. 

Did you know?
For every ace served during the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, the LTA and Tennis Foundation will donate £200 worth of tennis equipment to London primary schools.


Want to watch the World Tour Finals live? There are still tickets available...


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