Sports Mole brings you live commentary of the ATP World Tour Finals Group A clash between Novak Djokovic and Tomas Berdych in London.
By Matt Law, European Football Editor Filed: Friday, November 9, 2012 at 13:15 UK
Last Updated: Friday, November 9, 2012 at 17:44 UK
Novak Djokovic just needed to take a singular set from his ATP World Tour Finals Group A clash with Tomas Berdych on Friday to secure his spot in the semi-finals.
Berdych could only qualify with a win and despite a late rally, the Czech opponent lost out in two sets to the new world number one.
Find out how the match unfolded over three sets with Sports Mole's minute-by-minute coverage below.
1.18pmAfternoon all! Well it isn't a Grand Slam tournament, but the ATP World Tour Finals always manage to deliver. Meanwhile, the players see it as an ideal warm-up to the bigger competitions.
1.21pmDjokovic looks certain to end the year as the world number one and the prospect of adding another 1500 ranking points to his collection certainly holds appeal. It hasn't been the best of years for the Serbian, but there are signs that his form is on the rise.
1.24pmThat said, if a bad year constitutes winning the Australian Open and then back-to-back titles in Beijing and Shanghai then I am certain that a lot of players would want to have a so-called off period!
1.27pmDjokovic has demonstrated some of his best tennis at times in London as he beat Tsonga in straight sets before recovering from a set down to beat Andy Murray in a pulsating clash on Wednesday.
1.30pmMeanwhile, Berdych has struggled for form in this tournament and lost to Murray in his first game on Monday. He did recover to beat Tsonga on Wednesday, but he must beat Djokovic and hope that Murray loses to Tsonga to have any chance of making it through.
1.33pmWithout boring you with all the possible permutations ahead of the action today, I will bring you a couple of scenarios. If Djokovic beats Berdych and Murray beats Tsonga then the Serbian will top the group and Murray will finish second.
1.36pmHowever, if Berdych overcomes Djokovic in this match and Tsonga defeats Murray, then Berdych would win the group with the Serbian finishing second. Meanwhile, Tsonga can take second spot if he beats Murray this evening.
1.39pmDjokovic would be eliminated from the competition if he lost in two sets and Murray beats Tsonga in two sets. Then Murray would top the group and Berdych would finish second. However, Murray would be eliminated if Berdych beats Djokovic in two sets if he drops a set against Tsonga, regardless of the result.
1.42pmGot it? Me neither! I will keep you updated throughout the afternoon with all the possible situations. Be sure to remain with us for this one and the all-important clash between Murray and Tsonga this evening.
1.45pmJust while we are waiting for the play to begin. What about that little Spaniard that goes by the name of Rafael Nadal? A host of injuries have seen him miss a lot of tennis this year. Out of sight out of mind.
1.48pmThe year of 2012 also saw Roger Federer reclaim his spot as world number one. But Djokovic and Murray continue to improve. Nadal has some work to do to get among the top players after a spell out.
1.51pmThere is going to come a time when Federer's body simply says 'no more'. But my word are there some players behind him. Experts are in agreement that this is the best crop of players men's tennis has seen.
1.54pmWe are expecting the play to begin at around 2.05pm as we wait for the completion of the doubles match. However, stay with us and we will keep you up-to-date with the latest news.
1.57pmThe doubles match between Mirnyi and Nestor and Bhupathi and Bopanna was just entered a third set tie-break. Just a reminder that our match will follow after the completion of the doubles.
2pmMirnyi and Nestor have taken a 3-2 lead in the tie-break. They lost the opening set in the match before levelling it at 1-1. You could cut the tension with a knife.
2.05pmIt's brilliant play from Bhupathi as he serves before coming to the net and placing a winner past Nestor. They lead 8-4 and within two points of the semi-finals.
2.07pmRESULT: Bhupathi/Bopanna 7-6 6-7 10-5 Mirnyi and Nestor. The former pair advance to the semi-finals of the competition. The defending champions have been knocked out.
2.10pmRight. Singles time. Djokovic has faced Berdych nine times on the hard court. And he was won all nine. It is going to take something special from the Czech to claim the win.
2.13pmMeanwhile, Djokovic's coach Marian Vajda has just told Sky Sports News that the Serbian is "feeling good". Bad news for Berdych! Just a reminder that Djokovic needs just one set to advance.
2.16pmThe two players continue their stretching routine inside the stadium as we await the start of play. Meanwhile, Berdych tells Sky Sports News that "it is going to be very tough".
2.19pmMeanwhile, Djokovic tells Sky Sports News that "Berdych is a great player and very powerful". Right, both players have said what they have needed to say.
2.22pmBerdych struts onto the court with his choice of music in the background and smoke joins Djokovic. It is like a mixture of a boxing match and an Usher concert. Anyone for a game of tennis?!
2.25pmBoth players continue their warm-up routine on the court as they exchange strokes. The start of play is just a few minutes away. My prediction is Djokovic in two.
2.28pmHere we go then. Both players take to their seats as they towel up and prepare for the start of play. Berdych to service first.
Djokovic *0-1 BerdychIt's a confident hold from the Czech as Djokovic produces two unforced errors. Meanwhile, Berdych serves and volleys to move ahead in the match.
Djokovic 1-1* BerdychDjokovic answers straight back with a love hold as Berdych twice fires long, before two powerful serves level the scores in the early stages. Strong serving from both players thus far.
2.35pmIt's stunning tennis from Djokovic as he moves 0-30 ahead with a powerful backhand. Berdych needs to be ever so careful. This is a huge game in the context of this set.
2.39pmIt's impressive stuff from Berdych as he recovers from 0-40 down to tie the game at deuce. However, the Czech fires long to hand Djo the chance to break.
Djokovic *2-1 BerdychBREAK! It's just too good from Djokovic as he defends a series of powerful strikes before firing a forehand down the line and Berdych can only hit the net.
2.42pmSloppy start to his serve from Djokovic as he fires a forehand long of the baseline. Meanwhile, the Serbian can only hit the net to leave himself 0-30 behind.
2.44pmA forehand winner and a rasping serve from Djokovic levels the game at 30-30. However, he fires wide once more and Berdych has break point.
Djokovic 3-1* BerdychBerdych misses the opportunity to break straight back as he fires into the net and another net shot hands Djokovic the chance to hold. And he takes it.
2.48pmIt's just dream tennis from the Serbian as he moves around the backhand before firing a powerful forehand past Berdych. The Czech needs to just settle here.
2.50pmAnd indeed he does as Djokovic twice hits the net to level the score at 30-30. Berdych simply has to hold here or the set is gone.
Djokovic *4-1 BerdychBREAK! Djokovic breaks with a stunning backhand across court. The Serbian is playing some of his best tennis here and Berdych simply cannot handle it.
2.54pmIt's smart play from Berdych as he matches the groundstrokes from Djokovic before firing down the line to move 0-15 ahead. However, he is not moving particularly well at the moment.
Djokovic 5-1* BerdychMarvellous serving from the Serbian as he recovers from 0-15 down to hold and move 5-1 ahead. What can Berdych do here?
2.58pmThe longer the rally continues the less chance Berdych has of securing the point. But he hasn't had the opportunity to come to the net. This is as well as Djokovic has played this year.
3pmHowever, Berdych demonstrates his ability as he fires a forehand winner to move 30-0 ahead on serve. The Czech has to hold here.
Djokovic *5-2 BerdychAnd indeed he does with a couple of powerful serves. That will give him some more confidence. However, Djokovic will now serve for the opening set.
Djokovic 6-2 BerdychSET! Djokovic claims the opening set with a love hold. That secures his spot in the semi-finals of the competition. As if it was ever in doubt! How does Berdych respond?
3.05pmHere we go then. Change of shirt for Novak as he looks to make it three wins out of three. Berdych to serve first in the second.
3.07pmConfident start from the Czech as he moved 30-0 ahead on serve. However, Djokovic comes to the net to move within a point. Berdych is not moving well here.
Djokovic 6-2 *0-1 BerdychBerdych holds his opening service game of the second set with a powerful serve. But can he break Novak's? Only time will tell.
Djokovic 6-2 1-1* BerdychJust like that Djokovic holds to love to move level at 1-1. That happened in the blink of an eye. Now the pressure is back on Berdych.
3.12pmBrilliant play from Berdych as he moves 15-0 ahead with a serve and volley. However, he can only fire long in the second point to allow Djokovic back in.
3.14pmNo, no, no. Brilliant from Djokovic as he moves into the net before firing past Berdych. The Serbian now has two chances to break.
Djokovic 6-2 *2-1 BerdychBREAK! Djokovic passes up the first chance as he fires wide, but Berdych returns the favour as Novak moves ahead in the set.
3.18pmBerdych gets a slight bit of help from the net there as it trickles over and he moves 0-15 ahead. However, he continues to struggle around the court.
3.20pmWonderful tennis from Berdych as he matches Djokovic shot for shot before moving to the net and firing past the Serbian. He has two chances to break back.
Djokovic 6-2 2-2* BerdychBREAK! Berdych breaks straight back with a wonderful display of what he is capable of. But how he simply must hold here.
3.23pmSome of the best tennis we have seen in this tournament thus far from Berdych. Suddenly he is finding length with his forehands and Djokovic has no answer at the moment.
3.25pmJust as I say that he hits an easy forehand straight into the net and we are level at 30-30. It has been that type of match for the Czech thus far.
3.27pmDjokovic opens up break point as Berdych fires wide from the baseline. However, his second ace of the match levels it at deuce. Djokovic is making him work for the hold.
Djokovic 6-2 *2-3 BerdychIt's a massive hold for Berdych as he fires a forehand past Djokovic to move 2-3 ahead in the second set. Much more of an even contest at the moment.
Djokovic 6-2 3-3* BerdychToo good from Djokovic as he demonstrates his ability to defend on the backhand side. Meanwhile, a serve and volley secures the love hold.
3.33pmBerdych continues to serve well as he opens up a 30-0 lead. It is so important that he holds. A break now and it could be game over.
Djokovic 6-2 *3-4 BerdychBerdych does indeed hold to move 3-4 ahead in the second set. A break now and he would serve for one-set-all. But that is a big ask.
Djokovic 6-2 4-4* BerdychAgain Novak has no trouble holding his serve and indeed he does so to love. The next game is the most important in the match thus far.
3.40pmConfident start to his service game by Berdych as he releases a forehand past Djokovic. Meanwhile, he opens up a 30-0 lead as Djokovic fires long.
3.42pmBig moment in this second set as Djokovic moves behind at 30-15. However, he fires his next shot into the net and Berdych has the chance to hold.
Djokovic 6-2 *4-5 BerdychBerdych holds to move 4-5 ahead in the second set. Can he break the Djokovic serve for the second time and level the match at one-set-all?
Djokovic 6-2 5-5* BerdychBerdych can get nowhere near the Serbian's serve at the moment as Djokovic produces another hold to love.
3.50pmIt's sloppy from Djokovic as he gives another two free points to Berdych. The Czech has a 30-0 lead on serve.
Djokovic 6-2 *5-6 BerdychBerdych produces another strong hold to move 5-6 ahead in the second set. Can the Czech break Djokovic? Or are we heading for a tie-break? Stay with us.
3.53pmNow what do we have here? Djokovic comes to the net but a passing shot from Berdych opens up a 15-30 lead.
3.55pmHowever, a poor forehand from the Czech allows Djokovic back into the game at 30-30. This is a huge game in the context of this match.
4.08pmStunning recovery from Djokovic as he secures the tie-break and the match. The Serbian has secured a spot in the semi-finals of the competition. Andy Murray just needs to beat Tsonga this evening to gain his spot.
4.11pmThat's just about all we have time for at Sports Mole. However, join us this evening for the crucial match between Murray and Tsonga. See you then!