For the second time in less than a week, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer will take on each other in the same tournament. In their first meeting last Sunday, Federer had defeated the Serb but that is no guarantee of a repeat performance. In fact, it may not be easy for Federer to beat the world no.1 twice in such a short span. On Saturday, Djokovic produced a machine-like display against old foe Rafael Nadal of Spain and scored an easy two-set victory. Later in the evening, the all-Swiss semifinal was decided in favor of Roger Federer. India’s Rohan Bopanna continued his dream run in the 2015 ATP World Tour Finals and he is now just one match away from clinching the doubles crown with his Romanian mate Florin Mergea. In the finals on Sunday, Bopanna/Mergea will play against Jean-Julien Rojer of Netherlands and Horia Tecau of Romania. Rojer/Tecau played marvelous tennis in denying defending champions Bob and Mike Bryan another victory in the ATP World Tour Finals. Whatever be the results of Sunday’s matches, at least one Romanian will feature among this year’s winners.
In the 46th encounter of their illustrious tennis career, Djokovic finally squared off the head-to-head count to 23-23 with a comprehensive 6-3, 6-3 victory over Nadal on Saturday afternoon. Djokovic didn’t allow Nadal any easy time in the first set and broke him at love to take an early 2-0 lead. With his service to follow, it was 3-0 in the first three games. That set the tone of the match and despite Nadal doing his best; he couldn’t sneak back into the set that Djokovic took at 6-3. The pattern of Djokovic’s play continued in the second set and he broke the Spaniard’s service in the fifth game after a 25-shot rally. There was no looking back thereafter, as Djokovic wound up the 89-minute match 6-3, 6-3. In all, the Serb converted three out of five break opportunities presented to him and never surrendered his own service even once. The three-time ATP World Tour champion will be keen to retain his 2014 title, when he faces the Roger Federer challenge for the second time on Sunday. If the Serb wins, he will enhance his 2015 tally of titles to 11.
In the other semifinal later in the evening, two Swiss men faced each other in a repeat of their 2014 semifinal match won by Wawrinka. After Federer held his opening game in the first set, Wawrinka came back four games later to break Federer for a 3-2 lead. However, Federer squared off at 4-4 in the eighth game. Thereafter, the two went on serve in the next two games before Federer broke again in the 11th game and served out the set at 7-5. Federer carried the momentum into the second set and jumped to a 3-0 lead. It became difficult for Wawrinka to bounce back thereafter with Federer finishing the 70-minute match at 7-5, 6-3.
India’ Rohan Bopanna is ever so close from a dream doubles title with Florin Mergea of Romania. Until November 8, 2015, Bopanna and Mergea weren’t even sure about their chances in the ATP World Tour Finals but once they were named as the no.8 seeds, the two of them have made most of the opportunity. They began by beating the famous Bryan Brothers and reached the final on Saturday with a 59-minute 6-4, 6-2 victory over 2014 finalists Ivan Dodig of Croatia and Marcelo Melo of Brazil. Bopanna/Mergea played solidly and converted all four break chances that came their way. The Indo-Romanian pair had only one little issue, when they were broken once in the second set; otherwise they ruled all the away before ensuring the final berth for themselves. In Sunday’s final, Bopanna/Mergea will take on second seeds Jean-Julien Rojer of Netherlands and Horia Tecau also a Romanian like Mergea. In the other semifinal, Rojer/Tecau disposed of world no.1 USA’s Bob and Mike Bryan. The Dutch/Romanian pair played with poise and converted three out of six break chances offered. In addition, they earned 81 per cent first serve points. The Bryans did try to sneak back into the match, but Rojer/Tecau stayed generally focused to deny the Americans. Until 2014, the Bryans ended up as the world no.1 in 10 out of their 12 outings. The historical off-shoot of Sunday’s doubles final line-up also means that a Romanian will be named as a champion for the first time ever.