Vintage Federer sets up showdown with Djokovic

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Updated 12 November 2012
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Vintage Federer sets up showdown with Djokovic

LONDON, Nov 11 : Roger Federer provided a glorious reminder that he will be chasing more major titles next year with a vintage display to outclass Britain’s Andy Murray on Sunday and set up a season-ending showdown with Novak Djokovic.
The Swiss 17-times grand slam champion, who will turn 32 next year, continued his dominance of the ATP World Tour Finals with a 7-6 6-2 victory over the man who deprived him of Olympic singles gold at Wimbledon.
In his eighth final in 11 years at the ATP’s blue-riband tournament, Federer will face world number one Djokovic after the Serb’s granite-like defenses helped him repel the brute force of Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro for a 4-6 6-3 6-2 victory.
Neither semi-final lived up to their pre-match billing although Federer’s majestic form after a slow start against Murray had a sell-out crowd at the O2 Arena in raptures.
Murray, who bounced back to win Olympic gold and then the US Open after the heartache of losing to Federer in this year’s Wimbledon final, made a lightning start, breaking in the opening game, but ultimately played second fiddle to the master.
Federer edged an hour-long first set and then turned on the style in the second to move one victory away from winning a hat-trick of titles at the Thames-side arena that has been hosting the championships since 2009.

Initially overpowered
Like Federer, Djokovic also found himself initially overpowered by the wrist-bending forehand of the towering Del Potro but came through what he described as a “crisis” to ultimately romp to victory and stay on course for the $1.76m jackpot for an undefeated champion.
The 25-year-old, the only player in the eight-man event to win all three round-robin matches, was a set and break down but once again showed the warrior-like qualities that have enabled him to end a second consecutive year as world number one.
Djokovic broke a faltering Del Potro’s serve twice in the second and third sets and surged to victory after winning 11 of the last 14 games.
“I believed that I could come back,” a good-humored Djokovic told reporters, before softening up the assembled media by offering up boxes of chocolates.
“I had a little, let’s say, crisis in today’s match from 4-4 in the first set to 2-2 in the second where I didn’t feel so good on the court, struggling to find my momentum and my rhythm.
“From that moment on, when I got the break back, I played very flawless tennis. That makes me very happy and also confident before tomorrow’s final.”
World number seven Del Potro had played down his chances despite beating Federer in their final group match on Saturday, saying “three big names and one big guy” had reached the semis.

Hefty blow
However, the 2009 US Open champion, back to near his best after some career-disrupting injuries, showed scant regard for reputations with his thunderous forehand working Djokovic over.
Djokovic looked increasingly uncomfortable as Del Potro pinned him way back behind the baseline and he spent most of the first set soaking up punishment.
He survived a break point in the sixth game after a miss-hit smash gave his opponent a chance but a stunning forehand pass on the run by Del Potro and some uncharacteristic Djokovic errors handed the initiative to the South American.
Del Potro clinched the opener with a confident love service game and Djokovic found himself under immediate pressure at the start of the second set.
He wriggled his way out of one hole, saving three break points, but two games later Del Potro broke serve again when he finished off a stunning baseline exchange by ripping a monstrous forehand that brought gasps from the crowd.
Del Potro appeared to have Djokovic where he wanted but the world number one proved far from a spent force when he broke for the first time in the match in the following game.
The sting suddenly went from Del Potro’s game and Djokovic levelled the match after breaking for a 5-3 lead.
Djokovic ruthlessly picked Del Potro apart in the decider, breaking in the third game with a cleverly angled forehand. He broke again for a 5-2 lead and wrapped up the win with the minimum of fuss.
“I played really two good sets today,” Del Potro said. “But in the end, he’s the number one in the world so if you don’t play whole match your best level, it’s difficult to beat him.”


Shane Watson ton takes Chennai Super Kings to third IPL title

Updated 23 min 2 sec ago
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Shane Watson ton takes Chennai Super Kings to third IPL title

  • Australian hits 117 off 57 balls as Chennai chase down 178-6
  • 'He is a world class player'

MUMBAI: Shane Watson fought through the pain barrier to smash an unbeaten 117 as Chennai Super Kings thrashed Sunrisers Hyderabad to win their third Indian Premier League title in a spectacular return from a two-year corruption ban.
The 36-year-old Australian, struggling with a hamstring injury, hit eight sixes and 11 fours in a stunning 57-ball innings as Chennai took just 18.3 overs to overcome Hyderabad’s 178-6 off 20 overs.
Chennai finished on 181-2 to crush their opponents by eight wickets. They have now equalled the Mumbai Indians in winning the world’s wealthiest cricket tournament for the third time since it started in 2008.
Ambati Rayudu who hit a four to complete victory was also unbeaten on 16 in Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium, which was packed with more than 33,000 fans.
He led tributes to Watson.
“His experience saw us through. He is a world class player and when he is there anything can happen,” Rayudu said.
Hyderabad coach Tom Moody added Watson had produced “something special.”
But the Australian hero said he had been happy to get through the night because of his injury and after failing to score a run in the first 10 balls of his innings.
“I knew I had to start getting runs quickly after those 10 balls,” he said.
“We had to get the rate back up to a run a ball. But once the ball stopped swinging, it became easier.”
Watson has had longstanding hamstring problems which has worsened as the gruelling IPL season reached the finale.
“Throughout the back end of the tournament I was hanging on for dear life,” he said, praising coach Stephen Fleming and captain M.S. Dhoni for the way he had been protected in games.
Chennai, IPL winners in 2010 and 2011, were banned for two seasons in 2015 along with Rajasthan Royals after team officials were found guilty of involvement in illegal gambling.
Dhoni won the toss and put Hyderabad into bat. Their New Zealand captain Kane Williamson hit a top-score 47 as Sunrisers posted 178-6.
The 27-year-old Williamson, a last minute replacement for scandal-tainted David Warner as captain, has been an impressive leader, amassing 735 runs including eight half centuries in 17 matches.
He was supported by Yusuf Pathan who hit an unbeaten 45 off 25 balls, including four fours and two sixes. Carlos Brathwaite also hit an 11-ball 21 to help Hyderabad add 52 runs in the last five overs.
But after reining in Watson at the start and taking South African opener Faf du Plessis for 10 in the third over, the Hyderabad bowlers were put to the sword.
Watson and Suresh Raina put on a swashbuckling 117-run second-wicket stand with Raina hitting 32.
Afghanistan teen sensation Rashid Khan returned figures of 0-24 for Hyderabad but Watson hit the other bowlers to every corner of the stadium.
The big-hitting Aussie allrounder plundered 27 runs off one over of paceman Sandeep Sharma.
Watson took a single off Khan to bring up his hundred in 51 balls and then acknowledged a standing ovation from the Chennai dugout and the crowd with his team already in sight of their IPL triumph.
Watson was just one of nine members of the Chennai squad to be aged over 30. But triumphant captain Dhoni, who has also won three IPL titles, said agility was more important.
“It is the fitness that really matters more than the age aspect,” said the former India captain, 36.
“What captains want is players who move well in the field. It doesn’t matter which year a player is born in, whether you are 19 or 20 — you have to be agile.”
But Dhoni acknowledged that he could not push his whole team to run like a 20-year-old. “If I push Watson to stop a single, there is a very good chance that he’ll burst his hamstring and won’t be available for the next game.
“So what you tell yourself is that they have to commit and try, but there’s no point getting injured for a single.”
The winners of the final were guaranteed a minimum $4 million in prize money.