11/11/12 11:23 PM | Ricky Dimon
The last ATP tournament of 2012 all comes down to the top two players in tennis. No. 1 Novak Djokovic will go up against second-ranked Roger Federer in the World Tour Finals title match on Monday.
Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer will be meeting for the 29th time in their careers and for the fifth time this season when they clash in the World Tour Finals title match on Monday night.
Federer leads the head-to-head series 16-12, including 12-9 on hard courts. They have split their four 2012 encounters, with Djokovic winning twice on clay (in Rome and at the French Open) before Federer prevailed in the Wimbledon semis and in the Cincinnati final.
Both players heated up in Sunday's semifinals after winning their respective round-robin groups in relatively lackluster fashion. Djokovic went 3-0 in Group A then overcame an inspired Juan Martin Del Potro 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 to reach the final. Federer took advantage of a nice draw in Group B and compiled a 2-1 record before hammering Andy Murray 7-6(5), 6-2 on Sunday.
Djokovic is now 74-12 for the season, which has been highlighted by another Australian Open triumph (one of five titles so far). The Serb passed Federer at No. 1 in the world last month and will finish the year in the top spot. Federer has collected six more titles to his illustrious career resume and boasts a 71-11 record.
"I wasn't quite sure what to expect from Novak this week after seeing him play the first round against (Jo-Wilfried) Tsonga," the Swiss explained. "I thought he was a bit subdued. Now he's in the tournament and he's playing really well. I think I'm in for a tough match. He's playing physical. I need to take it to him otherwise I'm going to do the running and then it's going to be rough. We both had a good season so it's nice that we're playing each other."
Federer's form against Murray would likely be good enough in this one, too, but that is easier said than done against the kind of defense and the consistency with which Djokovic played in the last two sets against Del Potro. Djokovic in three sets is the pick.
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