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Nikolay Davydenko takes ATP World Tour title in London

Nikolay Davydenko

ATP World Tour final highlights - Del Potro v Davydenko

By Piers Newbery
BBC Sport at the O2 Arena

Nikolay Davydenko became the first Russian to win the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals with a brilliant display against Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro.

The 28-year-old claimed the biggest title of his career, and a cheque for just over £900,000, with a 6-3 6-4 defeat of the US Open champion.

Davydenko, who beat Rafael Nadal, Robin Soderling and Roger Federer on his way to the final, was sharper throughout as Del Potro appeared to be feeling the after-effects of his semi-final win over Soderling the previous evening.

Asked afterwards if it had felt better to beat Federer for the first time ever on Saturday, or to win the title on Sunday, Davydenko said: "For sure, to win the championship.

"To win a trophy is always something important in the career of a tennis player. It was important to beat Federer in the semi-final, but a final is different."

For the eighth successive day, around 17,000 spectators packed into the O2 Arena that has proved such a success on its debut as host to the most prestigious event outside the four Grand Slams.

He played unbelievable tennis, he beat me in a good way

Juan Martin del Potro

Davydenko was making his second successive appearance in the final, having lost to Novak Djokovic in Shanghai last year, and the Russian was full of confidence after finally beating Federer at the 13th attempt in the semi-finals.

Making his fifth consecutive appearance at the eight-man season finale, the low-key Davydenko had another chance to land a title that would finally reflect his status in the game.

He started where he left off against Federer, all industry from the baseline and prepared to make the occasional dart to the net, while Del Potro appeared to be suffering a hangover from Saturday's late-night semi-final.

His mood was not helped when, after saving a first break point in game three he was called for a foot-fault on the second and, clearly unsettled, mishit a forehand seconds later to hand Davydenko the break at 3-1.

Del Potro was still swiping his racquet in frustration as the following game began and it was not until game seven that he got a chance to recover after Davydenko double-faulted at 30-30, but the Russian immediately regained his composure and struck a perfect forehand into the corner on the break point.

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Davydenko was now in command, making 70% of first serves and flinging himself out wide to anticipate Del Potro's flat serves and favourite off-forehand into the corner, and he wrapped up the first set after 38 minutes.

The season looked to have finally caught up with Del Potro in game five of the second but he did well to fend off two break points with big serves to stay in touch.

Davydenko came through a dangerous moment in the following game when he saved two break points with a first serve and a serve-volley, but the Russian remained the player controlling the tempo.

After one of the best weeks of his career, Davydenko put together his best game of the week to break in game nine as he expertly moved Del Potro around to create space for winners on his way to a love game.

The seventh seed faced the biggest service game of his life and he came through it confidently to win in one hour 23 minutes when Del Potro netted a forehand.

Del Potro revealed afterwards that he had not got to bed until 3am on Sunday following his semi-final, and asked if he would have preferred to play the final in the evening, he said: "Of course, but that's the rules of the game.

"I had the day off before the semis and Nikolay plays Friday to Saturday, so it's different. But he played unbelievable tennis, he beat me in a good way."

Nikolay Davydenko
Davydenko is the first Russian to win the end-of-season title

Davydenko admitted: "I was surprised to win 6-3 6-4, one hour and 20 minutes. Before I'd played three-set matches, mostly two hours.

"I came in from the first point with 100% concentration. Before the match I was so tired, I was scared about how I would start the match, how I could play against Del Potro.

"And really from the beginning, I won my first serve, felt positive and was fighting every game, every point, and thought maybe I can win."



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see also
Davydenko thrilled to join greats
29 Nov 09 |  Tennis
Del Potro v Davydenko as it happened
29 Nov 09 |  Tennis
Bryan twins finish season on high
29 Nov 09 |  Tennis
World Tour Finals photos
29 Nov 09 |  Tennis
Battling Del Potro reaches final
28 Nov 09 |  Tennis
Davydenko shocks Federer in semis
28 Nov 09 |  Tennis
Tennis on the BBC
26 Oct 11 |  Tennis


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