Novak fights off match point, captures 70th season win!

Photo: Reuters

Nole has scored his first win in Group A at the 2011 Barclays ATP World Tour finals in London.

The top seed, who captured the 2008 Masters Cup title in Shanghai, needed 2 hours and 38 minutes to clinch his 70th victory of the season. He beat world no.7 Tomas Berdych of Czech Republic 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (3).

Berdych looked confident at the beginning of the match. He wrapped up the first set 6-3 in 49 minutes.

Nole responded in equally impressive fashion to level things up.

The 24-year-old Belgrade native was broken in the sixth game of the final set, but he fought back immediately and held to equalise to 4-4. At 5-6, Nole was serving to stay in the match. He double-faulted to give the Czech a match point, but got out of the unpleasant situation and took the set into a tie-breaker. Our champ has shown his mental strength once again. He gained control, rolled to a 5-1 lead and served it out 7-3.

“It was the toughest match probably since the US Open,” admitted Nole. “I mean, I’m not very satisfied with my performance tonight. I know I wasn’t playing on top of my game. But a win is a win in the end.”

”I knew that my opponent tonight is an unpredictable player, who has a powerful groundstrokes and great serve. If he’s on, if he feels the ball well, it’s difficult to compete with him. That’s what happened. I think he made pressure, a lot of pressure, on my serve, especially the second serve. He was stepping in. I went back. I was too passive.”

”It would mean a lot to win the tournament. It’s a crown for all the achievements I had. It would be a fantastic way to end the best season in my career. But look, I need to step up a little bit. I need to raise the level of performance in order to have a chance to go all the way.”

Match statistics: aces (3-6), double faults (3-4), winners (17-32), unforced errors (33-42).

Novak will take on David Ferrer in his second Group A round-robin match on Wednesday. The Spaniard defeated no.3 seed Andy Murray in straight sets.

Nole has a 6-4 advantage in their head-to-head. The Serb won their last encounter in the quarter-finals of Madrid Masters, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.

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