Djokovic battles past Davydenko
Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:56
The opening exchanges were predictably tight, both players looking at home on the indoor surface, but it was the ultra-consistent Russian who broke through first in the fifth game.
Davydenko, who is playing in the end-of-season tournament for the fifth year in a row, then saved two break points to cement his advantage.
Suddenly Djokovic was making errors, and a double fault and wild forehand put Davydenko in sight of another break, this time to seal the set, which he duly achieved thanks to a return that dropped on to the line.
A couple of rare unforced errors from the world number seven in his next service game presented Djokovic with two break points but the Serbian could only dump successive returns tamely into the net.
Djokovic is a renowned fighter, though, and he redoubled his efforts in the ninth game, engineering a break point and then taking it when a Davydenko forehand just missed the line.
The crowd appreciated his efforts and the noise level rocketed when the world number three saved a break point before levelling the match with an unreturnable forehand.
Djokovic then made the perfect start to the decider, breaking Davydenko in the opening game. The Serbian was looking increasingly weary, though, and he was forced to save three break points in a titanic sixth game.
The finish line just would not come and, serving for the match, Djokovic was finally broken, his opponent nailing a backhand down the line.
But, having worked so hard for his break, Davydenko promptly gave the initiative back with a woeful service game and second time around Djokovic finally sealed victory.