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Djokovic dedicates win to ill father
Novak Djokovic dedicated his Barclays ATP World Tour Finals title to his ill father after defeating Roger Federer to take the season-ending prize in London.
The world number one finished the tournament undefeated and picked up a cheque for US dollars 1,760,000 with his 7-6 (8/6) 7-5 victory over the man who had made the O2 Arena his own. Federer was looking for a third title in a row and to extend his record to seven overall but he could not capitalise on good starts in both sets.
The 25-year-old's father Srdjan remains seriously ill with a respiratory condition. Djokovic said: "At a certain stage, it was very critical. We didn't know what tomorrow brings. But now he's much better and he's recovering. He's still in intensive care. I'm going to visit him tomorrow and see how it goes and try to bring a trophy with me and at least make him smile."
The match looked like it would turn out very differently when Federer reeled off the first nine points and he was 3-0 up in the first set in next to no time, but Djokovic is the man who simply will not go away. He pulled back to level and then broke to lead 5-4 but back came Federer, saving a set point and setting up a tie-break.
That was as close as what went before, with Federer saving another set point in spectacular fashion, but a backhand wide gave Djokovic a third chance and this time he took it.
Federer responded by breaking in a long first game of the second set and, although both men had chances, that was the way it stayed until the Swiss star served for the set at 5-4. He looked certain to force a decider at 40-15 but sloppy errors cost him and Djokovic levelled with a forehand that was simply too good, the Serb letting out a guttural roar of delight.
Federer had played brilliant attacking tennis but there were just a few too many errors from the world number two and suddenly he was match point down. This time Djokovic did not need any help, the world number one powering a backhand winner past the despairing reach of his opponent to end the season well and truly on top of the world.
It was a second season-ending title for Djokovic, who also won the trophy the year before the tournament moved to London in 2009, but he admitted he was just trying to "hang in there" in the first few games.
He said: "It's not the first time that Roger has started against me so well. I've experienced before his aggression, really trying to put his mark on the match. It's what he's done again.
"I didn't know in which direction the match would really go but I tried to convince myself that I will make a turnaround and I will fight. It happened again. I managed to deliver my best game when it was needed the most."