ATP World Tour Finals: Novak Djokovic finishes year with fourth title in a row
By Graeme Mair. Last Updated: 11/11/13 11:15pm
Novak Djokovic completed a successful defence of his ATP World Tour Finals title with a 6-3 6-4 victory over Rafael Nadal.
Djokovic's win was his 22nd in a row and gives him a fourth straight tournament success to end the year having also won in Beijing, Shanghai and Paris during the past six weeks.
His most recent defeat came against Nadal in the US Open final but there was little prospect of a repeat during a one-sided contest at London's 02 Arena.
Djokovic quickly raced into a 3-0 lead after breaking a nervous Nadal at the first opportunity.
The Serb had break point again at 30-40 in the fourth game but misfired with a backhand, prompting him to throw back his head and unleash a roar of frustration.
Nadal was encouraged, won the next two points to hold and then brought up his first break points at 15-40 in the next game.
Djokovic survived both to get to deuce but failed to save a third shortly afterwards when another backhand missed the target.
But Nadal was soon under pressure on his own delivery again, saving one break point in the eighth game with an unreturned serve at 30-40 before promptly double faulting to gift his opponent another chance.
This time Djokovic was able to convert for a 5-3 lead, showing his court coverage by digging out a forehand lob on the run at full stretch and then prevailing in an exchange of volleys at the net.
Again he let out a huge roar, this time of delight, and then stepped up to serve out the set, sealing it with an ace.
Djokovic's dominance continued in the early stages of the second set and he broke for a 2-1 lead.
He had two more break points for a 5-2 advantage but Nadal came up with some big serves to escape for the time being.
Djokovic held with ease for 5-3 and had match point at 30-40 in the ninth game, only for Nadal to once again rouse himself and make his opponent serve it out.
That was not a problem, Djokovic holding to clinch his third win at the season-ending event to go with his 2012 triumph in London and 2008 success in Shanghai.
It was a disappointing performance from Nadal to finish a superb season. After returning from a seven-month injury lay-off in February, the left-hander won 10 of his first 13 tournaments, including the French and US Opens to take his tally of Grand Slam crowns to 13, third on the all-time list behind Pete Sampras (14) and Roger Federer (17).
And he had already clinched the year-end No.1 ranking for a third time regardless of the result against second-ranked Djokovic, whose win in their Open era-record 39th meeting reduced his deficit to 22-17 in the career head-to-head.