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Page last updated at 07:56 GMT, Sunday, 16 November 2008

Djokovic v Davydenko as it happened

Masters Cup result:


N Djokovic (Ser) bt N Davydenko (Rus)

6-1 7-5

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By Piers Newbery

1001: Well, that's your lot but check back for the players' reactions in our report later. And see you in the early hours of 19 January for the start of the Aussie Open.

0958: "It was a deserved win, he was the best player today by a country mile."
Times correspondent Neil Harman on 5 Live Sports Extra

0957: Djokovic is clearly pretty happy, chucking his racquet into the ground and then taking his shirt off and throwing that to the fans too. He then heads to the stands and enjoys a joyous huddle with his supporters while girlfriend Jelena looks on. His first mistake of the day.


Djokovic 7-5 Davydenko
The crucial game opens with a ridiculous, brilliant rally that sees Davydenko face a barrage of passing shots at the net before eventually succumbing and putting a volley into the net. The Russian then nets a backhand and Djokovic hits a backhand winner for 40-0 and three championship points.....

A big serve down the middle and Djokovic is the champion, falling to his knees in celebration.

Djokovic 6-5 Davydenko
Now the nerves have temporarily shifted from Djokovic's shoulders he opens them up to smack a couple of huge forehand winners for 15-30. Davydenko puts a regulation backhand into the tram lines and after all that hard work, he again faces two break points.

Davydenko nets a forehand and Djokovic gets a second chance to serve out for the title. Lucky boy.

Djokovic 5-5 Davydenko
Yikes. Djokovic opens a game that could win him $625,000 with a very edgy backhand error and a forehand into the net. To be honest, if I had the chance to win that much money they'd have to carry me to the baseline.

Djokovic is made of sterner stuff, thankfully, and gets back in the groove on his forehand, but Davydenko takes the initiative to punch away a volley for 15-40. The crowd love it and the Russian allows himself a smile.

Djokovic bounces the ball about 156 times before hitting an ace on the first break point but puts his next first serve into the net - the crowd applaud and the Serb is not happy, sarcastically applauding back. He then double faults. Shocker.

0942: The crowd are going bananas about something during the changoever but I don't think it's the Scissor Sisters.

Djokovic 5-4 Davydenko
Two Davydenko errors leave the Russian 15-30 down and two points from defeat. He has a second serve which smacks the tape and just drops over. No problem for Djokovic, he takes the ensuing point by attacking the net and firing a forehand into the corner.

Two match points - Davydenko hits an ace down the 'T' on the first, and dominates the following rally before swatting away a forehand for deuce. The Russian follows up with a big forehand down the line and a service winner, and wife Irina is smiling again.

Djokovic 5-3 Davydenko
Djokovic looks a little more tense as the finish line approaches but is holding his nerve. A wild Djokovic backhand takes us to 30-30 and Davydenko gets a half-chance but nets a high forehand down the line.

Djokovic seals the game with a measured move to the net and gentle volley before turning to his supporters and clenching his fist. Nearly there.

0929: After a flirtation with the current decade, the stadium PA is back to Rivers Of Babylon. Good Lord.

Djokovic 4-3 Davydenko
A fantastic cross-court forehand return gives Djokovic the perfect start but Davydenko serves his way to 40-15 before punting a backhand over the baseline. The Russian wraps it up with an ace and keeps the pressure on.

Djokovic 4-2 Davydenko
Djokovic remains rock solid after Davydenko hands him the first point with a poor error, taking a great second point with a drop shot, following up with a fine volley and closing out the game to 15 with a service winner.

0920: Changeover music update - so far today the highlights have been Love Shack, Can't Get You Out Of My Head, and Hung Up. No repeat of yesterday's Chesney Hawkes moment. Yet.

Djokovic 3-2 Davydenko
A thumping forehand and equally fierce backhand help Djokovic to 30-30, and Davydenko then sticks a forehand long. The Russian - serving at 26% so far in this set - gets out of trouble with a solid smash and an ace, but Djokovic will not let him off the hook and gets back to deuce with some brutal hitting.

It's the same story on the next point, with a succession of heavy forehands battering Davydenko, but the Russian saves another break point with an ace and eventually holds. That was a long game and might have taken something out of Djokovic.

Djokovic 3-1 Davydenko
The first signs of nerves from Djokovic as he double-faults for 30-30 and then gets embroiled in the kind of long rally that should suit Davydenko. Credit to the Serb then as he plays a blistering cross-court forehand, that prompts another fist pump, followed by an ace.

Djokovic 2-1 Davydenko
Oh dear. Davydenko has about half an hour to consider a towering defensive lob but still sticks his smash into the tram lines, and at 30-30 he thwacks a forehand drive-volley into the net. Break point Djokovic - but Davydenko comes up with an excellent serve-forehand one-two combination.

It's not over though, as the Russian comes up with his first double fault of the day. Break point number two and Djokovic takes it with a rasping forehand pass before leaping and punching the air. He's up for this.

Djokovic 1-1 Davydenko
That's more like it - an incredible rally that ends with a Davydenko volley gets a standing ovation. Smiles from both men before Djokovic calmly serves out the game, taking it with another seamless move to the net and forehand volley.

Djokovic 0-1 Davydenko
Davydenko makes a couple more inexplicable errors off the ground and is in danger again at 30-30, but he comes up with a big first serve and wins a lengthy rally to take the game.


0847: "Djokovic has been on top of every element of his game and thoroughly deserved to win that set in 32 minutes."
Times correspondent Neil Harman on 5 Live Sports Extra

Djokovic 6-1 Davydenko
Hmmm.... Djokovic slips 0-30 down after his fourth successive error, gets back to 15-30 with a good serve but then fades a backhand volley beyond the baseline. However, Davydenko nets a forehand on his first break point and smacks his left hand with his racquet in frustration, before Djokovic levels with a big serve.

Davydenko sends a forehand well wide and he really hasn't found his range yet. Djokovic seals the set with a big cross-court backhand and his supporters are up on their feet.

Djokovic 5-1 Davydenko
Davydenko makes an error on the first point before Djokovic dominates another rally with his forehand for 30-30. Davydenko responds with an ace but Djokovic pegs him back with another stunning rally, attacking the net behind a huge forehand and angling away a backhand volley.

The Russian eventually gets off the mark with some decent first serves, but wife Irina is almost not smiling for the first time this week.

Djokovic 5-0 Davydenko
Crikey. Djokovic opens with an amazing forehand lob and rounds off the game a few moments later with a huge serve. Another 45 minutes of this and he might yet win 'performance of the year'.

0833: "She's, er...... she's absolutely stunning."
Times (tennis) correspondent Neil Harman on 5 Live Sports Extra (spots Djokovic's girlfriend)

Djokovic 4-0 Davydenko
We haven't seen Djokovic in this sort of mood since the heady days of summer - his performance in the Queen's final was superb but overshadowed by the magnificent Nadal. He arrows a backhand down the line on the first point before Davydenko takes his frustration out on the umpire.

He thinks a ball is out but takes too long to call for Hawkeye and the umpire says he must play on. The replay shows the ball was in. Davydenko then comes to the net and Djokovic almost knocks him over with a vicious forehand - 0-40 for the Serb. Djokovic drifts a half-volley wide on the first but Davydenko goes wide with a backhand and it's two breaks for the Aussie Open champ.

Djokovic 3-0 Davydenko
Djokovic has started in brilliant fashion, firing some unplayable forehands that are in marked contrast to his efforts on that wing yesterday. He takes the game with a blistering cross-court forehand and girlfriend Jelena looks delighted. Lovely.

Djokovic 2-0 Davydenko
Davydenko opens with an unusually wayward backhand and a sprightly Djokovic gets to 15-30 up with a cross-court backhand winner. Davydenko then sticks a backhand in the net and it's two break points - Djokovic nets a forehand on the first but Davydenko makes his third backhand error of the game to give up the break.

Djokovic 1-0 Davydenko
Djokovic has to work pretty hard to hold his opening service game and that could be a sign of things to come, but the Serb takes it with a fine backhand down the line. Just best-of-three sets today, by the way.

0812: The Qi Zhong Stadium is full to its 15,000 capacity, and among the crowd is Davydenko's ever-smiling wife, Irina, and presumably Djokovic's ever-popular girlfriend, Jelena.

0808: "It's a fascinating contest between two players with an enormous amount to prove here. Djokovic has had an inconsistent second half of the year and would love to finish with a flourish, while Davydenko has had a torrid year and was cleared only a couple of months ago of match-fixing."
Times correspondent Neil Harman on 5 Live Sports Extra

0805: Davydenko wins the toss and elects to serve, after shrugging as if to say 'I don't mind'.

0803: "I think Davydenko starts the favourite - Djokvic has been erratic and his forehand has been questionable."
Jonathan Overend on 5 Live Sports Extra

0801: Nikolay Davydenkooooooooo makes his final grand entrance of the year through the dry ice, followed by Novak Djokoviiiiiiiiic.

0756: So it's the final match (OK, apart from the Davis Cup final) of a great season in men's tennis. Highlights? Obviously, Nadal v Federer in the best Wimbledon final any of us are likely to see, and Murray reaching the US Open final. And performance of the year for me was Tsonga destroying Nadal in the Aussie Open semis.

0750: Can we raise ourselves one more time at the end of an exhausting season? Yes we can. Andy Murray may have bowed out on Saturday but his conqueror, Nikolay Davydenko, takes on Novak Djokovic for the end-of-season title and a cheque for $625,000.

This would have gone down as a surprise line-up at the start of the week, but we do have the second and fourth seeds in the final.

The pair met in the second round of group matches on Tuesday and Djokovic won in three sets, although he was a bit fortunate. Their only other meeting came in the Davis Cup earlier this year, when Djokovic retired trailing two sets to one.

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see also
Masters Cup photos
16 Nov 08 |  Tennis
Davydenko ends Murray's Cup run
15 Nov 08 |  Tennis

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