Davydenko claims crown

Russian beats Argentine to lift the year-ending showpiece event

Davydenko claims crown


Russian Nikolay Davydenko lifts the ATP World Tour Finals Trophy in London on Sunday. Reuters

The wiry Russian, who has climbed to sixth in the world this week, produced a faultless display to claim the biggest title of his career and a $1.5 million cheque.

Davydenko, 28, broke Del Potro's serve in the fourth game and then pounced again at 4-4 in the second set before serving out for victory in one hour 23 minutes.

"For me it was amazing to come here ranked at seven and to win the tournament, I surprised myself," Davydenko said on court in front of another 17,500 sell-out crowd.
Davydenko's challenge began with defeat last Monday against Novak Djokovic in his opening round-robin match but he recovered with inspired victories over Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and finally Del Potro, players who between them won all the grand slam prizes on offer this year.

Del Potro, the US Open champion, looked flat throughout the contest and never really got a foothold in the match that Davydenko dictated from start to finish.

Only once did he threaten to make a real match of it, when he created chances to break the Davydenko serve midway through the second set.

Earliers on Saturday, Davydenko ended seven years of pain against Roger Federer on Saturday, finally beating the world number one 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 to reach the final of the ATP World Tour Finals for a second successive year.

The Russian had lost all 12 of his previous clashes with the Swiss magician since they first met in 2002 but produced an inspired performance in front of 17,500 captivated fans inside the O2 Arena to resist a Federer fightback.

He set up a final showdown with US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro after the Argentine survived a tight tussle to squeeze past Swede Robin Soderling 6-7, 6-3, 7-6.
Watched by WBA world heavyweight champion David Haye, Del Potro delivered the knockout punch -- an ace -- to end the see-saw contest after two hours and 11 minutes.
"I'm very happy to make my first final ... one more match before my holiday," an exhausted Del Potro told the crowd.

Federer had been the only player in the current top 10 that Davydenko had failed to beat and the 28-year-old's victory was even more impressive given he was on court late on Friday battling to secure a semifinal place while the world number one had his feet up in the hotel.

It had looked as though all Davydenko's hard labour would count for nothing as Federer produced a shot of outstanding audacity to move within two points of victory in the 10th game of the deciding set, but the Russian held his nerve to advance.

"I just thought: 'OK, if I lose, tomorrow I go home and the next day I go to the Maldives for a holiday,'" Davydenko told reporters after arguably the best victory of his career.
Federer, who can now get back to helping out with his twin daughters and preparing for next season, said he paid the price for a poor start, a feature of his matches here where he lost the first set in all three of his round-robin matches.

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