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By Erik Gudris

Novak Djokovic London ATP (November 7, 2012) -- With both Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray both seeking to take control of Group A at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals as they faced each other in today's first singles match, it was Djokovic who once again proved why he is No. 1 in the world with yet another win earned more by his tenacious play rather than the total number winners produced from his racquet.

Murray, clad in very bright canary yellow shorts from adidas, was amped up at the start as he broke Djokovic right away by winning an extended rally capped off by a forehand winner. Murray's serve was also nearly perfect as he only lost one point in three service games with his only blemish coming from a double fault.

Djokovic stayed close though and forced Murray to serve out the set at 5-4, which he did with yet another hold to love to the delight of the pro-Murray crowd on hand at the 02 Arena. Murray finished the set with a 100% first serve percentage while Djokovic's 17 unforced errors proved that the Serb had room for improvement.

Djokovic did just that in the second set as Murray's level began to drop punctuated by a poor serve and volley attempt by the Scot that ended up giving Djokovic his first break of the match at 4-2. Visibly angry at himself, Murray's demeanor and game began to unravel and that was enough for Djokovic as he served out the set 6-3.

The stats bear out that Djokovic cleaned up his game in the second set with the Serb posting eight winners and eight unforced errors to Murray's five winners and 11 unforced errors.

But even though Murray held to love to open the deciding set, he wasn't done yelling at himself or hitting untimely errors, like he did in third game when he sent five backhands out of the court to give Djokovic an early break for 2-1. But the momentum shifts were just beginning as Murray, after holding serve later in a tight 10 minute game, fought back to force 15-40 on Djokovic's serve.

Now it was Djokovic's turn to send a backhand wide that allowed Murray to even up the set at 4-all. With both men playing some of their best tennis of the match to push things to 5-all, a tiebreak to decide it all seemed likely. But Murray's forehand, that had been rock solid for the match, let him down as he overcooked one long to give Djokovic a 6-5 lead.

Murray pressured Djokovic in the next game and held 15-40 on the Serbian, but a pair of big serves followed by a final Murray backhand error was enough to give Djokovic a hard fought 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 win.

Djokovic is now 2-0 in group play but still must wait to find out the winner of the Tomas Berdych versus Jo-Wilfried Tsonga match before he knows if he is automatically in the semifinals.

In the earlier doubles match, once again a super tiebreak was needed as Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna went down to the wire against Robert Lindstedt and Horia Tecau who split the first two sets.

Despite a slim advantage in the super tiebreak, it was a combination of volley and return errors from both Lindstedt and Tecau that allowed the all-Indian team to come away with a 6-3, 7-5, 10-5 victory.


(Photo Credit: AP)

 

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