ANDY MURRAY TRIUMPHS OVER DJOKOVIC IN ATP WORLD TOUR FINALS

Andy Murray silenced any argument about who is the best tennis player on the planet when he subdued his greatest rival on a delirious night at the O2 Arena.

The 29 year-old Scot took the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals title with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Novak Djokovic to register his 24th straight victory that capped a late season surge.

He will now keep the world No 1 ranking for a matter of months not weeks, and becomes the 17th man to hold the year-end position since the computer whirred into life in 1973.

In a generous speech afterwards Djokovic acknowledged that ‘Andy is definitely the best player in the world. He was better in the big moments tonight.’

Murray said: ‘It’s a very special day playing Novak in a match like this. It has been a tough rivalry and I have lost many of them. This is something I never expected but I couldn’t have done it without my team. I congratulate Novak on his achievements this year. To win four Grand Slams like he did is incredible and I don’t think we’ll see it again for a very long time.’

Murray produced a rock solid performance to take advantage of an occasionally wayward Djokovic who, despite a late rally, sometimes seemed to be hosting the demons that have affected him since the French Open.

For all Murray’s 23 consecutive wins, Wimbledon title and Olympic gold in the cascade of success since June there was the nagging question that he had not beaten his one rival who could make that claim.

In a generous speech afterwards Djokovic acknowledged that ‘Andy is definitely the best player in the world. He was better in the big moments tonight.’

Murray said: ‘It’s a very special day playing Novak in a match like this. It has been a tough rivalry and I have lost many of them. This is something I never expected but I couldn’t have done it without my team. I congratulate Novak on his achievements this year. To win four Grand Slams like he did is incredible and I don’t think we’ll see it again for a very long time.’

Murray produced a rock solid performance to take advantage of an occasionally wayward Djokovic who, despite a late rally, sometimes seemed to be hosting the demons that have affected him since the French Open.

For all Murray’s 23 consecutive wins, Wimbledon title and Olympic gold in the cascade of success since June there was the nagging question that he had not beaten his one rival who could make that claim.
Perhaps it was the deafening welcome from a packed O2 Arena, filled with an array of celebrities from his long-time supporter Kevin Spacey to Jude Law to Miranda Hart and Cliff Richard. It was hard to think that there have been matches here, admittedly against Roger Federer, when it has almost felt like an away match.

There was not much sign of any lead in his legs, although he sent down two double faults in the first game.

Djokovic had marginally the better of the first five games, before Murray distinctly moved up a level in the sixth. Penetrating returns helped set up two break points but he could not take advantage, dumping a forehand in the net and then slicing a backhand to the same effect.

He shrugged off the disappointment and was by now playing with a consistently deeper length than his opponent. As in the first set of the Roland Garros final, the Djokovic backhand was wobbling under pressure and he netted off that side on break point at 5-3.

When he netted another backhand at the start of the second it was his 11th unforced error on that side, although he had put himself in trouble by putting a regulation forehand wide.

Djokovic was playing too much down the middle and too short, and in the fifth game became seriously wayward after missing the simplest of forehand volleys. Murray lapped up the errors, fired a brilliant cross court backhand, and then earned the cushion of a second break when the Serb sent another forehand long. It was as if some of the demons that had affected him since Roland Garros, and which appeared to have been put away this week, had returned to haunt him.

Yet just when it seemed he was unravelling he remembered who he was and, seizing on a Murray double fault, eradicated the first break and served the next game out to love by properly opening his shoulders.
The first big question was being asked of Murray, but he responded with an assured hold to fifteen.

Asked to serve for the match at 5-4 he moved to 30-0 with an ace down the middle but then missed two forehands as the crowd collectively took a sharp intake of breath. Djokovic missed a lob to set up match point but his opponent held it off with a rasping forehand into the corner.

A 130 mph service winner created a second, but again Djokovic responded with two huge forehands. Next it was a forehand wide from his rival that led to a third, which was clinched when a Djokovic forehand was sent, this time, long and wide, part of his 30 unforced errors.

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