Novak Djokovic goes into the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris this week looking to maintain the form that saw him spoil Roger Federer's homecoming party in Switzerland on Sunday. The world No 3 defeated Federer 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 to crown a winning debut in the final of the Davidoff Swiss Indoors in Basle. Djokovic battled resiliently in the first set to overcome the world No 1, who was clearly desperate to give his adoring home fans who crowded the arena named after their national sporting icon, something to cheer about.
In an epic 24-minute game at the close of the first set, Djokovic had to save five break points before clinching the required points. "I started feeling really tense," said the 22-year-old Serbian. "He had a lot of break points, and I had a lot of set points. It was the turning point - because once I won the set, I started to feel better and more confident. "It is definitely a big achievement to beat Roger in his home city. He had a huge amount of pressure on him to win.
"Nothing is easy, believe me, against Roger. 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." Djokovic flew in to France on Monday where he is expected to meet either Jeremy Chardy or Juan Monaca later today. Federer will face Julien Benneteau or Philipp Petzschner. The Swiss insisted he was pleased with his performances in Basle, despite losing his title, but admitted he could have been more dominant from the baseline.
"I missed too many chances throughout the match. Novak played well and made 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 aggressively. I was maybe lacking a bit of timing on my backhand side, but it was still a good tournament for me." Andy Murray finds himself in the same half of the draw as Federer and will be high on confidence after claiming his sixth title of the year on Sunday.
The Scot faces a first-round clash with James Blake after the American beat Fabrice Santoro 6-4, 6-3. Murray comfortably defeated Mikhail Youzhny in the final of the inaugural Valencia Open on Sunday, his first tournament since the US Open. The world No 4, returning from a wrist injury that has sidelined him for the past two months, looked sharp throughout a comprehensive 6-3, 6-2 win over the Russian.
"I'd say it was a little easier than I had expected, but he is a tough player," said Murray. "I didn't have high expectations this week, but with every round and match you get more confident. It is very rare for someone to win a tournament after a long break." @Email:firstname.lastname@example.org