What a perfect way to end the 2015 ATP season, with the two best of the year playing for an amazing 8th time as Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer clash with the ATP Finals title at stake.
The two former champions both cruised into the finals today, as expected.
Djokovic took care of Rafael Nadal 6-3, 6-3. Rafa played good after a slow start but the match was never really in doubt with Djokovic in comfort and command throughout.
As I said yesterday, Rafa has to be happy despite the loss. And I didn’t think he did too bad today. Djokovic was simply just too good.
“He was better than me and he deserved to do what he did during the whole season,” said Nadal. “He played just fantastic.
“When somebody’s playing like this, just the only thing I can do is congratulate him and wish not the best of luck for the next year.”
Then it was the all-Swiss rematch from a year ago. Roger overcame a break in the first to roll Stan Wawrinka 7-5, 6-2. It was shaky early for Roger but Stan couldn’t capitalize on the lead and close out the set. And once Roger got back on top he kicked into another gear it was over.
“The year was amazing,” said Wawrinka. “I didn’t expect to play that well, to be here tonight, honestly, being No. 4, winning a Grand Slam, semi-finals here again. I couldn’t expect more. I won two titles for the first time in my career — one of them the French Open, beating the No. 1 player. I made the semi-finals at the US Open, Australian Open; quarter-finals at Wimbledon. I was quite consistent at the highest level. I beat so many top guys. The year, it was amazing for me.”
So the final most of us thought we’d get we got as Djokovic and Federer meet again for the second time this week. Roger beat him on Tuesday in straights, but Sunday with a title on the line I think we’ll see a different, most determined Djokovic.
Federer’s been playing well this week, but I still like the court and the conditions for Novak here. And I like Novak’s return game against Fed’s second serve.
“Same court, same place,” said Federer. “For me, it’s an advantage because I guess it gives me a bit of confidence. For him, it’s an advantage because he gets a second chance, and he’s in another final. He’s played some great tennis since we’ve played. I still believe his confidence is slightly higher than mine with the amount of success he’s had this year.”
Roger will have to serve great, play aggressive and maybe use the drop shot. He can’t win slugging out from the baseline.
That said, Roger’s one guy that gives Novak problems, so that will be in Djokovic’s head. And maybe it will create some errors.
But Roger will also have to take care of mistakes, like he didn’t do in New York when given chances. Those blown break points are a killer.
In the end though, I know Fed beat him a few days ago but Novak will be more than motivated to end what has been a sensational season on a high note. And he’ll do it Sunday.
The pick: Djokovic in three
ESPN has live coverage of the finals at 1pm ET.
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