Sublime Federer makes it six
Originally published on: 20/12/11 10:45
Roger Federer went undefeated at The O2 in London for the second consecutive year to win a record-breaking sixth title at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals after defusing the power of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
Surpassing Ivan Lendl and Pete Sampras, who both won the year-end title on five occasions, the Swiss executed a 6-3 6-7(6) 6-3 victory to better the Frenchman for the third successive Sunday.
“It feels very special indeed,” said Federer after picking up the 70th title of his career in his 100th ATP Tour final. “It’s finally a reality that I’ve been able to win six World Tour Finals. It’s an amazing feeling. I know it’s one of my greatest accomplishments.”
In prime form coming into the tournament after winning his fifth home title in Basel before beating Tsonga for his maiden triumph at the Paris Masters 1000, Federer was quick off the mark in his 11th career meeting with the Frenchman – a week after winning their round robin opener.
Breaking to love in the seventh game, Federer fought hard to avoid the counter break and held for the opening set before securing another break in the second set as all signs pointed to a straight-sets triumph.
But Tsonga, who had promised he would give his all to the point that he would “break both of his two ankles” in order to win the biggest title of his career, broke back before firing two booming forehand drives – one to save a championship point in the tiebreak, and another to clinch it.
With little to seperate either player until the eighth game of the decider, Federer finally clinched the break that would stick for 5-3, before serving out a momentus victory to love for his fourth title of the year and his eighth career victory over Tsonga.
“He’s the best player indoors for the moment. He’s maybe the best player ever,” said Tsonga who, despite defeat, could hold his head high. “Tonight I can see myself in the mirror and say, ‘yeah, you fight enough.’”
Federer, meanwhile, will go into an Olympic year at the top of his game.
“It was the strongest finish I have ever had in my career, which I’m very proud of,” said the Swiss. “I’m very happy and upbeat about what’s to come.”