The 6th and final day of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals group stages saw four entertaining toughly battled matches at the London O2 Arena. Today’s fixtures included a battle of Spaniards between world number seven David Ferrer and world number five Rafael Nadal who both made their 7th appearance at the tournament. Nadal had already secured a spot in the semi finals against the on-fire Novak Djokovic after beating Andy Murray and Stanislas Wawrinka both in straight sets.
Meanwhile, Ferrer was already eliminated from the tournament after suffering straight set defeats to the two same compatriots. However, this was not before the first match of the afternoon session between last year’s finalists Ivan Dodig/Marcelo Melo and Marcin Matkowski/Nenad Zimonjic who both started the season with different doubles partners. Dodig and Melo were down a set and early on in the second set but managed to fight back to secure a 3-6, 7-6, 10-6 victory over the Polish and Serbian pair to book their place in the semi finals. The pair are now closer to stopping the Bryan Brothers from finishing number one in the Emirates ATP Team Rankings for a seventh consecutive year and record 11th time in the past 13 years.
The crowd certainly got their money’s worth, with a tight battle contested between the top two men’s Spaniard tennis players in the world. Despite Nadal’s fall in his level of game after returning from an injury-hit season, he was still the favourite to win, with a 23-6 head to head record over fellow countryman, Ferrer. Their last meeting was a three setter which Nadal won 6-4, 7-5,6-2 at the Monte Carlo Masters earlier this year but has failed to win a major for the first time in 10 years.
Ferrer looked like the better player on court and was closer to narrowing down the big gap in their head to head meetings early on in the match when he took out the first set in a comfortable tie breaker. However, he was unable to carry through his momentum into the second set, allowing Rafa to capitalise on his weaker ground strokes to claim the second set with ease. The first game of the final set pushed both players to the limit, lasting nearly 14 minutes with Ferrer coming out on top. However Nadal was able regain his composure to over-power his Davis Cup team member with his trademark hard-hitting top spin ground strokes to close out the match with a score line of 6-7 (2-7), 6-3, 6-4 in just over 2 hours and 30 minutes on court with a drop-shot volley which had the crowd on their feet.
The night sitting saw Jean-Julien Rojer of Curacao and Horia Tecau of Romania who had already qualified for the semi-finals in the doubles take out the French duo of Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut 6-4 7-5.
Tension was high in O2 Arena for the final match of the night which saw Andy Murray receive a code violation for smashing his racquet after handing Stanislas Wawrinka a second match point. The local favourite and world number two put up a close fight in the first set against the French Open champion but was unable to make any real threats in the second. Following the delight of the crowd after the racquet incident, the disappointment in the tournament for Murray continued as he crashed out of the tournament with a wide-backhand unforced error, gifting his Swiss compatriot a spot in the semi-finals against Roger Federer in just under two hours of play with a score line of 7-6, 6-4.
Highlights of the match:
World number one, Novak Djokovic has won the tournament in the past three years and has an excellent chance of making it four with his impressive season with three majors, six masters and 10 titles already to his name. Djokovic lost against Roger Federer in their group stage match yesterday but could still win the tournament if he can take out Rafael Nadal tomorrow and the winner of the all-Swiss semi-finals between Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka. Should the Serb successfully defend his title, he will be level with Ivan Lendl and Pete Sampras’ tournament wins behind Federer’s six. If the world number one was to face Federer in the final and successfully win the tournament on Sunday, he will also level their head to head meetings to 22-22.