It wasn’t pretty but Novak Djokovic lived up to his pre-tournament favorite hype by finally winning his almost three hour match against Nikolay Davydenko in the first round of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals 3-6, 6-4, 7-5.
Though it had shades of the brilliant match both played against each other in Shanghai, this match was more a battle of nerves and missed opportunities as Djokovic failed to convert on break point chances in the first set and allowed the Russian to hold on to win it 6-3.
It looked like Davydenko would hang on for the win until Djokovic, serving at 3-4, hit an ace that he thought had won the game. But a let was called forcing him to serve again. Djokovic won the point and regained his intensity allowing him to break at 5-4 and win the second set.
Djokovic broke early in the third set and went up 2-0. After holding his own in many of the extended rallies, Djokovic served for it at 5-4 but lost the game after Davydenko hit a screaming down the line baseline winner at 30-40. But the Russian couldn’t keep the momentum going as he hit three shots long to go down 0-40 and eventually lose the game. Djokovic finally served out the third set at 7-5.
Tomorrow Andy Murray goes up against Roger Federer while Juan Martin Del Potro takes on Fernando Verdasco. For all of Federer’s talk of “hitting through” Murray, Federer will need to clean up his game if hopes to win. The Del Potro/Verdasco match is hard to call. Both players really need to win as I see both of them of being the “weakest” players in the field.