(November 11th, 2012) -- If Novak Djokovic
has proven anything this week at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, it's that his sheer will to win, even when he's not playing his very best, may be the biggest reason why he will end 2012 as the number one player in the world.
Djokovic proved that yet again when he faced off against Juan Martin Del Potro
in the first semifinal at the 02 Arena in London. Both men came out firing in the first set, but it was Del Potro who looked the more impressive as he mixed up massive forehand winners with deft drop shots and stellar movement on all sides of the court.
Though both men saved break points against them early in the set, it was Djokovic who faltered at 4-all when a pair of huge forehands from Del Potro proved too much allowing the Argentine to break for 5-4.
Del Potro ended his impressive first set with a forehand winner, an ace and then a backhand down the line to take it 6-4.
Still looking rattled by Del Potro's fine form, Djokovic started the second set in with messy play that included a failed attempt at a tweener and hitting his first double fault of the match to go down 15-40. Djokovic saved those break points against him to eventually hold serve but Del Potro seized the break later by winning a 33-shot rally with a backhand winner to go up 2-1.
But just when it looked like Del Potro was in firm control of the match, the next game saw him drop in level allowing Djokovic to break back for 2-all. Djokovic kept up the pressure while Del Potro continued to fade punctuated by a series of errors that helped Djokovic earn a 5-3 lead. Djokovic closed out the set with a big serve 6-3.
If Del Potro's fans were hoping for one more shift in momentum, they didn't get it as Djokovic kept his attack by moving a tiring Del Potro around the court. Djokovic went on a 13-0 point run at one stretch to go up 3-1 and by then it was clear Djokovic wasn't going to let the match get away from him. A second break of serve for Djokovic sealed the inevitable victory that he clinched with two aces and a final huge serve to close out the 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 win that sends him into Monday's finals.
Djokovic hit 34 winners and 30 unforced errors to Del Potro's 26 winners and 31 unforced errors.
Bhupathi and Bopanna Enter ATP Doubles Finals
Despite dropping the first set and being behind in a final match tiebreak, Mahesh Bhupathi
and Rohan Bopanna
defeated Leander Paes
and Radek Stepanek
in the first doubles semifinals played earlier in the day.
Bhupahti and Bopanna were down 5-8 early on the match tiebreak and saved one match point before going on to win 6-4, 1-6, 12-10.