At the ultimate showdown of the ATP World Tour Finals, Juan Martin Del Potro, reigning U.S. Open champ and world number 5, and Nikolay Davydenko vied for the season’s last prestigious prize. Davydenko unraveled Del Potro’s game 6-3, 6-4 to snatch the trophy.
Only 5 feet 10 inches and 154 pounds, Davydenko bullied 6 feet 6 inches and 184 pounds Del Potro all day long. With his foot speed , the Russian had Del Potro on a string, dismissing the Argentine’s powerful ground strokes. Following uneventful games, with Del Potro serving at 1-2 and 40-30, Davydenko ripped a forehand crosscourt winner for deuce. Later on, after Del Potro had a foot fault called on an ace at deuce, he misfired on a forehand to give Davydenko his second break point. When Del Potro netted a backhand on a neutral point, Davydenko had the break. Conspicuously rattled by the prior call, Del Potro produced a rash of errors allowing Davydenko to easily consolidate for 4-1. Subsequent to a comfortable game, Del Potro had his initial break point when Davydenko double faulted. However, the Russian kept his composure, striking a beautiful forehand up the line winner for deuce. Davydenko went on to secure the game for 5-2. At love his next service game, Davydenko closed out the first set.
Incredibly, in the first set, Davydenko struck 12 winners and 6 unforced errors while Del Potro had 10 and 11 respectively. Nikolay dictated play by pushing Juan Martin behind the baseline and taking the ball early. Even Del Potro’s serve proved meek; once the ball was in play Davydenko had him scrambling from sideline to sideline. At 2 all, a forehand dumped into the net gave Davydenko his first break chance of the set. However, with a couple of T serves, Del Potro recovered to take a slender lead at 3-2. The next game, after setting up the point with a perfect serve, Davydenko mucked up the forehand up the line to give Del Potro an opening. But, with an ace, Davydenko erased the break point and got to deuce. Still, Del Potro received another opportunity when Davydenko’s backhand crosscourt landed long. By handling a high forehand volley, Davydenko wiped out that break point. Despite the hardships, Davydenko guarded serve for 3 all. Since Davydenko controlled the majority of the rallies, in truth, Del Potro was hanging on by a thread. With Del Potro serving at 4 a piece, Davydenko converted a backhand crosscourt winner, sent a forehand winner up the line and replicated a forehand crosscourt winner to arrive at triple break point. When Del Potro’s forehand up the line sailed wide, Davydenko found himself one game from the championship. After starting with an ace, the Russian forced Del Potro into a backhand miscue and with another ace obtained double match point. Davydenko wrapped up the trophy when Del Potro tracked down his overhead but dumped the stroke into the net.
Surreal is even understating Davydenko’s accomplishments this week. After losing an unbelievable first round match to Novak Djokovic, his next time out, Davydenko dismissed Rafael Nadal, world number two in straight sets. Then, after a victory over Robin Soderling to reach the semifinals, Davydenko outperformed world number one Roger Federer to claim his first career win in 13 attempts over that man. A finalist last year, Davydenko becomes the first Russian to grab the ATP World Tour Final trophy in the tournament’s history. Also, Davydenko now finishes the year at number 6 supplanting Andy Roddick.
In addition, the doubles title was on the line today. Bob and Mike Bryan, world number two, took on Andy Ram and Max Mirnyi. The latter team had beaten the former in the first round robin match. Yet, on this occasion, the Bryan brothers prevailed 7-6, 6-3 to collect their third year end trophy. Thus, with top duo and defending champs Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic failing to get out of the round robin stage, Mike and Bob will reestablish themselves at number one.