Federer wins ATP World Tour Finals

Roger Federer won the ATP World Tour Finals for a record sixth time after defeating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, 6-3 6-7 6-3 in the final.  This was a much better match than their group stage match as both players raised their intensity for the big occasion.  Tsonga started well mixing defence and attack to stay in touch with Federer.  However he lost his way at 4-3 with a below-par service game to hand the initiative to Federer.  There were some excellent rallies and it felt very close between the two players, but Federer won the big points to win the first set.
Federer was hands down, the best player this week and deserved his title.
The second set saw Tsonga struggling on his serve as Federer threatened at 1-1 and then made the breakthrough at 2-2 to take a set and a break lead.  Federer was starting to exert his authority on the match and served for the match at 6-3 5-4… however there would be a twist in the tale! Federer missed three first serves and Tsonga stayed composed to finish off a volley at the net to break.  A tiebreak it was to settle the second set and Federer took the lead once more.  He had his first match point at 6-5, which was saved with a stunning forehand by Tsonga.  A nervous Federer buckled under the growing pressure of Tsonga as a thunderous return at Federer’s feet saw the match levelled at one set all.
The third set was a tense affair as both players held with ease early on.  The big game came at 4-3 where Federer on his third break point, forced the error off Tsonga to give him a second shot at serving the match out.  This time he would make no mistake! It was a great final and one of the better matches of the week.  Tsonga played an excellent match and did extremely well to force a third set.  Tsonga has really asserted himself this year as a challenger to the top 4 and has benefitted from a relatively injury-free season.  I really hope he can push on next year and get to another Grand Slam final… he has the game to do it and he is extremely likeable and has the potential to be a big star on the tour.  
Tsonga has ended the season on a real high with final appearances at Paris and London
Kudos to Roger for another great week.  I will remember the win over Rafa from this tournament where he produced some truly sensational tennis.  Many people are now backing Federer as the favourite to win the Australian Open, but I would be sceptical to those claims.  This time last year, we were saying exactly the same thing when Federer beat Nadal in the final, but he didn’t push on at the start of the 2010.  I think his win here was partly down to him managing his schedule much better than Nadal, Djokovic and Murray, and taking that extended break after the US Open.  No doubt, Federer will be a contender for the Australian Open and it will be an interesting and unpredictable start to 2012!
Overall it was a good week at the O2.  There were some good matches although no really great ones. After such a long season, the tournament was slightly overshadowed by the early losses of Murray, Nadal and Djokovic, but I was impressed with how Tsonga took his opportunity.  The attendances were great once again with most sessions sold out.  I went to the final in the first year, but have since given it a miss following the rise in ticket prices.  I just felt it is not value for money considering all you get is one singles and doubles match.  The prices are also extorionate when compared to say Wimbledon where you get more matches and the whole atmosphere of the venue… but obviously people are willing to fork out the money so I imagine prices will stay high for next year! 
Federer ends the 2011 season on a high… will it continue in 2012?

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