Djokovic win ATP Tour finals
Gordon fined $100,000 for wrecking at Phoenix
Novak Djokovic produced a masterful display to end Roger Federer's reign as ATP Tour Finals champion as the world number one swept to a 7-6 (8/6), 7-5 victory in the final on Monday.
Djokovic underlined why he will finish as the world's top ranked player for the second successive year as the Serb withstood an early barrage from Federer in both sets before overwhelming the sixtime Tour Finals winner in an epic encounter lasting two hours and 14 minutes at London's O2 Arena.
The 25-year-old's brilliant display clinched his second triumph at the prestigious season-ending event and his first since 2008 when he won the title in Shanghai.
After winning the Australian Open in January and then falling short in the following three Grand Slams - he lost in the finals of the French and US Opens - this was the perfect way to end any debate about Djokovic's right to be regarded as the world's best. "It's always a privilege and a challenge to play Roger," Djokovic said. "I want to thank my team, I couldn't have done it without you. I love you!" For Federer, bidding for a hat-trick of Tour Finals titles, there was only frustration as he failed to take advantage of some dominant spells. The 17-time Grand Slam champion is the most successful player in the history of the event, having won more titles and recorded more match wins than anyone else. But even he couldn't subdue the rampant Djokovic, who handed Federer just his second defeat in eight appearances in the final of the Tour Finals and only his third ever loss at the O2 Arena. "Congratulations to Novak on an amazing tournament and an amazing year, You are the best. It has been an amazing year for me too," Federer said.
For just the fourth time in the 43-year history of the Tour Finals, the top two in the world rankings were meeting in the final and they produced an enthralling clash that lived up to its billing. Federer fizzed winners past Djokovic from all angles to take the first nine points of the match, breaking in the second game in the process. After absorbing that frenzied assault, Djokovic got on the scoreboard when he held serve in the fourth game.
Federer must have known Djokovic wouldn't surrender and the Serb turned the match on its head when he converted a break point in the next game.
Now Djokovic was in the ascendancy and he broke for a 5-4 lead when he unloaded a searing forehand winner on the run. But Federer staved off a set point in the next game and took advantage of that escape to break back for 5-5.
NASCAR pledged it wouldn't render immediate judgment on Jeff Gordon for his role in wrecking Clint Bowyer and upending the end of Sunday's Phoenix race. But officials didn't wait much longer, handing down a decision on Monday evening: a fine of $100,000 and a 25point penalty.
It was not a surprising penalty, but it will certainly disappoint those who believed Gordon deserved suspension for his actions. Gordon not only ignored a black flag, he altered the championship battle by taking out one of the final contenders.
However, unlike Kyle Busch, suspended last year for a similar incident, Gordon does not have a long track record of flaunting both authority and his fellow drivers. For that reason, he escaped a more severe punishment.
"There's no doubt that a unique set of circumstances combined with a championship battle on the line resulted in raw emotions coming into play," said NASCAR VP of competition Robin Pemberton.
"We consider the penalties appropriate and those involved understand our decision and we expect them to abide by them."
NASCAR also fined Brian Pattie, Bowyer's crew chief, $25,000 for failing to keep his crew in line. Alan Gustafson, Gordon's chief, was placed on probation for the rest of the year over the incident as well.
That settles things from NASCAR's end, but what about the drivers? Bowyer all but pledged retaliation on Gordon.
If that happens to have championship implications - unlikely but possible - that could reopen the entire matter. If not, well ... this one goes into the NASCAR storybooks as one of the moments that got the country talking about the sport.