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Djokovic Beats Home Favourite Federer, Wins Fourth Title Of Year

Basel, Switzerland

Novak Djokovic© Getty ImagesNovak Djokovic has an ATP World Tour-best 71-18 match record on the season.

Serbian Novak Djokovic became the fifth player this year to win an ATP World Tour title after saving match points, following a 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 victory over top-seed and three-time defending champion Roger Federer of Switzerland Sunday at the Swiss Indoors Basel, an ATP World Tour 500 tournament.

Second seed Djokovic, who saved three match points against Radek Stepanek in the semi-finals, captured his fourth ATP World Tour of the season and 15th overall from 26 tour-level finals. It is his first indoor title since lifting the title at the season climax in Shanghai last year.

“It is definitely a big achievement to beat Roger in his home city and country," said Djokovic.  "He had a huge amount of pressure on him to win today.  I hope the crowd enjoyed it, I think we played a great match.  I am really, really satisfied with this week."

The 22-year-old Djokovic earned €291,700 in prize money and 500 South African Airways 2009 ATP Ranking points, while hometown favourite Federer collected €134,000 and 300 points. Both players have already qualified for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals later this month.

In their fifth meeting of the year, the match went with serve until the ninth game of the first set when Djokovic broke Federer’s serve.  Serving at 5-4, Djokovic saved four break points and eventually converted his sixth set point to wrap up a 22-minute game and the 50-minute opening set.

“I started feeling really tense in the last game of the first set," admitted Djokovic.  "He had a lot of break points and I had a lot of set points.  It was funny for the crowd to guess who would win the game.  I think it was the turning point, as once I won the set I started to feel better and more confident." 

Djokovic converted the first of two break points in the first game of the second set, but Federer was quickly able to get back to 2-2 with his first service break in the fourth game.  The set looked destined for a tie-break, until Djokovic hit his sixth double fault of the match to trail 15/40 in the tenth game.

Federer capitalised on the error to take their 14th meeting to a deciding set, but was immediately overpowered by Djokovic and found himself trailing at 0-4.  The World No. 1 kept fighting, but was unable to convert three break point opportunities in the sixth game. Djokovic won five points in a row to take a 5-1 lead and minutes later ended Federer’s 19-match winning streak at the indoor tournament.

"Nothing is easy, believe me, against Roger," said Djokovic.  "I knew he was going to try to come back at any time. Although I was two breaks up [in the third set], he had some break points but I served well at the key moments."

World No. 3 Djokovic improved a career-best and ATP World Tour-best 71-18 season record, after winning his fourth title for the third year in a row.  He has won titles this year at the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships (d. Ferrer), the Serbia Open 2009 in Belgrade (d. Kubot) and at the China Open in Beijing (d. Cilic).

Federer, 28, was appearing in his 85th tour-level final.  He dropped to 61-24 overall and to a 4-3 record in 2009, highlighted by winning the Roland Garros (d. Soderling) and Wimbledon (d. Roddick) crowns.

"I think the lack of opportunities was the problem today," said Federer.  "I missed too many chances throughout the match.  Novak played well and make it tough for me to get chances, but when I had them he also played well.

“I think I could have played a bit better from the baseline, a bit more aggressive.  I was maybe lacking a bit of timing on my backhand side, but it was still a good tournament for me.  I think with a few adjustments I could have done better but I’m still happy."

He now has a 59-9 match record on the season, including 34-7 on hard courts. Federer dropped to 117-56 lifetime against Top 10 opponents, including 13-8 this year.

“We have some exciting weeks ahead of us, for all the players," said Federer.  "I won Roland Garros in the summer and now I return to Paris.  Of course having won Wimbledon, I will return to London.  It will be interesting to see how the crowds will be, as I have never gone back to Paris as the Roland Garros champion.  I am feeling well and mentally fresh.  I am in the mood to do well there."

It was the second straight No. 1 vs. No. 2-seeded final in Basel (Federer beat David Nalbandian in 2008) and the seventh final between the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds on the ATP World Tour this year.

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