Juan Martin Del Potro and Nikolay Davydenko will meet Sunday in the championships match of the ATP World Finals played at the O2 Arena in London.
Today, in his 13th try Davydenko finally defeated Roger Federer to advance to the Sunday year-end final. Davydenko, who had won just one of the last 23 sets against the Swiss, turned away the World No. 1 6-2, 4-6, 7-5.
“I think all my family, everybody who supports me, was waiting for this moment when I can beat Federer, because I have beaten everyone in the Top 10 except Federer,” said Davydenko after the 1-hour, 55-minute victory. “I was thinking it was coming maybe in 2010 or ’11. But in 2009, at the end of the season, it’s a good feeling.”
Davydenko was a finalist a year ago losing to Novak Djokovic, and now gets another shot at his biggest career title.
Federer, who finished the year No. 1 with two Slams, was disappointed with the result but pleased with his season.
“I still had a great season,” said the 28-year-old Federer. “Looking at how deep the game is right now, to finish on top for me is phenomenal. Winning that combination of Paris and Wimbledon back to back, coming from so far back in so many matches in Paris. I think those are incredible moments in my career.”
Federer was just two points from the win when he led 5-4 and 0-30 on Davydenko’s serve in the third set, but was unable to convert.
Del Potro had just as tough a road as the Russian following a 6-7(1), 6-3, 7-6(3) thriller over Robin Soderling.
“It was a very, very tough match,” said Del Potro. “It was so close. We played unbelievable points. We served well. The difference was just a couple of points in the tie-break in the third set.”
Soderling gained entry only when Andy Roddick withdrew due to a bad left knee. But the Swede made the most of his debut posting wins over No. 2 Rafael Nadal and No. 3 Djokovic.
“I think I started the tournament really well,” said Soderling. “I played two good matches. I kind of played a little bit worse the last two matches. But overall I think it was pretty good. I played against the best, and I won two matches, lost two matches, so it’s not too bad.”
Davydenko leads Del Potro 2-1 in their head-to-head with a win over the Argentine most recently at the Finals in Shanghai last year.
Added Del Potro: “I will want to close a good year. I will play against Nikolay. It will be tough. But if I play like today, maybe I will have chance to win. He’s very fast and he plays well on this kind of surface. But if I play good, I think I will have chance to win. He’s playing good tennis. He has confidence to play the final. But I think it will be a good final to watch.”
The best-of-three set singles final will be begins at 9:30am ET live on ESPN2 in the U.S. The doubles final between Bob and Mike Bryan against Max Mirnyi and Andy Ram precedes it at 7:30am ET.
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