The 2012 tennis season commenced way back in late January at the Australian Open when Novak Djokovic won an epic five-set encounter over Rafael Nadal to solidify his undisputed No. 1 ranking. And Djokovic ended 2012 with another significant triumph as the 25-year-old Serb defeated Roger Federer on Monday night at the ATP World Championships in London, 7-6 (6), 7-5.
Federer has owned these season-ending championships, with this his eighth appearance in the finals. The indoor surface is unquestionably Federer’s best as no one else in the game can match his reflexes on the fast carpet.
And the match started in very promising form for Federer as he held serve in less than a minute. He then proceeded to break Djokovic at love, with Djokovic looking a step slow and a bit out of sort very early in the match. And then with a 3-0 lead and Djokovic serving, Federer earned a break point and with it, a chance to taking a giant lead. But Federer failed to capitalize and Djokovic held to finally get on the scoreboard.
Though he was still ahead a break, Federer knew he had let a giant opportunity pass. As has been the case for the better part of two years, a one-break lead over Djokovic isn’t a lead at all.
When Pete Sampras – the last truly great server in the sport – was in control of his serve, the creeping inferiority felt by the player on the other side of the net would increase drastically as the match went on, as it became increasingly difficult to puncture the Sampras delivery.