Cabal/Farah Play Waiting Game At Nitto ATP Finals

Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah completed Group Max Mirnyi play with a 1-2 round-robin record at the Nitto ATP Finals, recording their 50th match win of the 2019 on Friday afternoon.

The top-seeded Colombians saved one set point in the first set tie-break of a 7-6(7), 6-2 victory over third-seeded Germans Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies in 81 minutes.

Cabal and Farah, who were presented the 2019 year-end No. 1 doubles trophy at The O2 in London on Thursday, will finish group play in second place if seventh-seeded Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut beat sixth seeds Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau during the evening session.

Cabal and Farah have captured five tour-level titles this year, including at Wimbledon (d. Mahut/Roger-Vasselin) and the US Open (d. Granollers/Zeballos), and have a 50-18 match record on the season.

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Big-serving gave the Germans there first set point at 6/5 in the tie-break, but 27-year-old Krawietz was unable to return Cabal’s serve. One set point came and went for the Colombians at 7/6, but a fine low return from Cabal, then a poach volley winner gave the top seeds the 52-minute opener.

Pumped up, the Colombians went on to break Krawietz’s serve in the first game of the second set – courtesy of a Farah backhand return, then a Cabal volley winner. They took a 5-2 lead by breaking Mies’ serve to 15, then .

Krawietz and Mies end their 2019 season, as winners of the New York Open (d. S. Gonzalez/Qureshi) and their first Grand Slam crown at Roland Garros (d. Chardy/Martin), with a 29-20 match record.

Read more: https://www.atptour.com/en/news/cabal-farah-krawietz-mies-nitto-atp-finals-2019-friday

ATP And Emirates Renew Premier Partnership

The ATP and Emirates today announced a renewal of their highly successful partnership, with the award-winning airline signing on as Premier Partner and Official Airline of the ATP Tour for an additional five years, beginning in 2021. The Premier Partnership renewal underscores over a decade-long commitment to the sport by Emirates.

As Official Airline and Premier Partner, Emirates will continue to receive global marketing rights and exposure through iconic on-court net branding at 60 tournaments worldwide. In 2018, ATP tournaments delivered Emirates brand exposure to a cumulative dedicated audience in excess of 1 billion, while the ATP’s worldwide platform also provides Emirates with an outstanding opportunity to showcase their unrivalled hospitality.

“We are delighted to have Emirates extend their Premier Partner status as the ATP Tour continues to soar in popularity as a truly worldwide sport,” said Chris Kermode, ATP Executive Chairman & President. “The Tour looks forward to further enhancing the exceptional partnership that has already been built, and the renewal reinforces the benefits the global platform of the ATP Tour provides to such a highly regarded and established brand in the sports marketing world.”

“We’ve been associated with the ATP since 2013 and it’s been a successful partnership so far and a great fit for our brand. As a global airline serving 158 destinations across 85 countries, and the ATP Tour itself taking place in 30 destinations to which we fly, along with the growing popularity of the tour, it remains a strong platform for us to connect with our customers, hence the decision to continue to being a Premier Partner and the Official Airline of the ATP Tour,” said Boutros Boutros, Emirates Divisional Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications, Marketing and Brand.

Read more: https://www.atptour.com/en/news/atp-emirates-renew-partnership-2019

Ghostbuster! Federer Says Djokovic Demons Were A Myth

Roger Federer insisted that the ghosts of his Wimbledon final defeat to Novak Djokovic, in which Federer lost two match points on his serve in the fifth set, never existed. But even if they did, they would be long gone by now.

Federer extinguished any bad Djokovic memories he might have held, even in the recesses of his brain, with a 6-4, 6-3 win against the World No. 2 on Thursday night at the Nitto ATP Finals. The 38-year-old Swiss ended a five-match losing streak against Djokovic and clinched his 16th semi-final in 17 appearances at the season finale.

“[The ghosts] were never really there. There [were] some press guys that made that up. So from my standpoint, I also didn't know I hadn't beaten him in a few years, actually. Didn't feel that way because it was so close in Paris [2018] and in Wimbledon against him,” Federer said.

“I felt like I was going to have my chance, to be quite honest... I'm just happy at the level I could play today, and obviously it's always special beating Novak, even more so [because] of what happened. But I didn't feel like I had to get rid of the ghosts or anything like that. I feel like I moved on pretty quickly after that.”

Federer improved to 53-9 on the season and earned his record-extending 59th Nitto ATP Finals win. The Swiss will now go for a record-extending seventh title this weekend. On Saturday afternoon, Federer plays the winner of Group Andre Agassi, which will be determined on Friday.

“I have been playing very well this season, and I think this victory proves that today,” Federer said.

The win, Federer's 23rd against Djokovic (Djokovic leads 26-23) and first since the 2015 Nitto ATP Finals, was a team effort. Together, Federer and coaches Severin Luthi and Ivan Ljubicic, spent about 75 minutes discussing strategy ahead of the match. Federer needed only 73 minutes to execute the plan.

“There is a lot that goes into a match like this. I spoke at length to the team before, probably over an hour 15 about all the different possibilities, about what can happen. They told me what they think is going to happen. We shared those feelings. When you walk out, you just don't know if any of it is going to work out or come the way it will,” Federer said.

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“I felt from the get-go I had good rhythm off the baseline and on the serve and that I felt like he was living dangerously if he was no

Read more: https://www.atptour.com/en/news/federer-nitto-atp-finals-2019-thursday-reaction

Roger & Novak: Every Match Ever Played

Meeting for the first time since contesting the longest Wimbledon final in history in July, Roger Federer snapped a five-match losing streak against Novak Djokovic to advance to the final four at the Nitto ATP Finals.

In his 17th appearance at the elite eight-man event, Federer recorded his first victory against Djokovic since their 2015 round-robin meeting at this event to reach his 16th semi-final at the Nitto ATP Finals. The result ended Djokovic's season along with his hopes of finishing as the year-end No. 1 in the ATP Rankings for a record-tying sixth time.

Djokovic leads Federer 26-23 in their electric FedEx ATP Head2Head series. Their rivalry features the second-most matches played in the Open Era; only Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have faced off more often, with 54 battles.

Here's a look at Djokovic and Federer's 49 meetings...

2019 Nitto ATP World Tour Finals round robin, hard, Federer d. Djokovic 64 63
Four months after failing to convert two championship points across the city against his great rival at Wimbledon, Federer dazzled a capacity crowd at The O2 to defeat Djokovic in a winner-takes-all round-robin encounter after 73 minutes.

With both players needing a win to advance to the semi-finals, Federer claimed 87 per cent (20/23) of his service points and made only one unforced error to take the first set. Serving at 1-1, Djokovic threw in a loose service game, donating two double faults to start before Federer walloped a sitting backhand to break serve to love.

Djokovic responded in the second set, saving two break points in the opening game to rip back momentum. The Serbian then saw his first break chance of the match in the fourth game, but couldn't convert and ran into more trouble on his serve at 2-2.

Hearing chants of “Let's go, Roger, let's go!”, Djokovic fell behind 15/40 and sailed a forehand long to give Federer the second break of the match. The Swiss broke once more to close out the match.

“Great atmosphere, a great opponent here in London at The O2, definitely incredibly special. Just a night I enjoyed from the beginning. I played incredible, and I knew I had to because that’s what Novak does and I was able to produce. So it was definitely magical,” Federer said.

2019 Wimbledon final, outdoor grass, Djokovic d. Federer 76(5), 16, 76(4), 46, 13-12(3)
Entering this final, there was mor

Read more: https://www.atptour.com/en/news/rivalries-djokovic-federer

Djokovic On Federer: 'He's A Role Model, Even For Me'

After 49 FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings, Novak Djokovic knows what an outstanding performance from Roger Federer looks like.

Although Djokovic voiced displeasure with his play against Federer during Thursday’s defeat at the Nitto ATP Finals, he tipped his hat to the Swiss for producing a stunning performance. The Swiss finished the night with 23 winners to just five unforced errors and didn't drop serve. Having saved two championship points in their clash at this year’s Wimbledon final, the capacity crowd at The O2 knew that Djokovic was capable of a Houdini act, but Federer was not to be denied.

The five-time champion at this event also expressed admiration for Federer delivering world-class tennis at age 38. Thirteen years after he beat the Serbian in their first FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters, he continues to find ways to take Djokovic out of his comfort zone.

“He was the better player in all aspects and absolutely deserved to win,” said Djokovic. “He served great, moved well, returned my serve very well. From his end, I think he did everything right. From my end, I was just playing too neutral. I couldn't read his serve well. Just a pretty bad match from my side.

“[But] I have the utmost admiration for him and everything he's doing on the court. What he has achieved over the years and what he's still showing on the court is phenomenal. He's a role model, even for me, and one of the toughest opponents I’ve had in my career. Looking at his career and what he's still doing just inspires you.”

The loss was a double blow for Djokovic. Not only did it end his week at The O2, but it guaranteed that Rafael Nadal will finish as year-end No. 1 in the ATP Rankings. Djokovic was looking to finish as year-end No. 1 for a record-tying sixth time.

But the Serbian said it wasn’t the first, or likely the last, difficult moment in his storied career. After 16 years on the ATP Tour, he has learned to navigate the highs and lows that can occur in professional tennis and expected to bounce back quickly.

Read More: Nadal Clinches Year-End No. 1 Ranking

“I have lost so many matches in my life that I know how to move on. This is no different," Djokovic said. “I’ve played Roger almost 50 times now. Played Rafael Nadal [54] times. Every loss is painful, but when you play your biggest rivals, that ad

Read more: https://www.atptour.com/en/news/djokovic-nitto-atp-finals-2019-thursday-reaction-atp

Match Analysis: How Federer Broke Through Djokovic's Returning Wall

Novak Djokovic has long been one of the best returners in the world. But there was little he could do on Thursday evening as Roger Federer put on a serving clinic to book his spot in the semi-finals of the Nitto ATP Finals.

"The serve stats are clearly key to either hang with him or beat him. I did that in Paris. I did that in Wimbledon. Actually, I hardly got broken in those matches, too, and again tonight," said Federer, who saved the only break point he faced against Djokovic. "So against Novak it seems to work well on my serve."

According to Hawkeye, Federer consistently aimed for the easiest target on the court on both sides to elicit a plethora of free points. Federer made 73 per cent of his first deliveries, bombarding the 'T', where the net hangs slightly lower than it does out wide.

Federer First-Serve Placement vs. DjokovicFederer First-Serve Placement

Federer directed 71 per cent of his serves in the deuce court and 68 per cent of his serves in the ad court down the middle. Djokovic managed to return only 36 per cent of the Swiss star's first serves into the court.

"To hit the spots the way I did today is definitely special. Also [it was good] just to be also strong on the shot that comes right after, and then being able to also produce good returns, because I thought I actually returned also very well today. I made a lot of returns," said Federer, who put 81 per cent of his first-serve returns into play.

Federer actually went down the 'T' far more often than he has done on average throughout 2019. According to Match Insights powered by Infosys Nia, Federer had targeted the 'T' in the ad court just 44.3 per cent of the time this season.

View ATP Infosys Second Screen

Infosys ATP Scores & Stats AnalysisInfosys ATP Scores & Stats analysis

Federer was able to put far more first-serve returns into play, slicing 30 per cent of Djokovic's first deliveries to make sure he made those returns. The Serbian keyed in on Federer's forehand with his first serve in both the deuce and ad courts, but despite landing a higher rate of first serves than his 38-year-old opponent at 74 per cent, he only won 57 per cent of those points.

Read more: https://www.atptour.com/en/news/federer-djokovic-nitto-atp-finals-2019-match-analysis

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