Even the best player in the world can have an off day, especially when he’s playing someone many believe is the best of all time.
Roger Federer brought his top game to the O2 Arena on Tuesday, stopping Novak Djokovic’s ATP Finals winning streak at 15 by beating the top-seeded Serb 7-5, 6-2.
”I wouldn’t have picked it maybe before the tournament, just because of his really good record on the indoors, the year he’s had,” said Federer, who lost to Djokovic in the Wimbledon and U.S. Open finals. ”But then again, all day I felt good about my chances.”
The win put Federer in the semifinals of the season-ending tournament for the 13th time in 14 appearances.
Djokovic, who has already clinched the year-end No. 1 ranking, had not lost at the ATP Finals since 2011, winning the last three elite titles for the top eight players in the world.
But Federer was strong Tuesday, as he usually is on an indoor hard court.
The six-time champion broke Djokovic in the final game of the first set, and again early in the second. Although Djokovic broke right back, Federer regained the lead a short time later and won the final four games.
”Yeah, you have those days as well, when you are not feeling your best, not even close to the best,” Djokovic said. ”Credit to Roger for mixing up the pace, giving me always a different ball. He used the slice and spin very wisely. He served very efficiently.
”I made a lot of unforced errors. Just handed him the win.”
On Sunday, Federer beat Tomas Berdych, giving him a 2-0 record this week. He will still play Kei Nishikori on Thursday in the final round-robin match.
Djokovic beat Nishikori in his first match, and will face Berdych on Thursday for a spot in the semifinals.