The superb 10-title season of 2011 tennis dominator Novak Djokovic ended Friday on a low note with the Serb denied a place in the semi-finals of the ATP World Tour Finals.
Djokovic, the world number one, did little all week to help his own cause at the year-end event, finishing 1-2 in Group A play and dependent on last-minute circumstance for a spot in the final four.
His fate was all but sealed in a 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 loss to fellow Serb Janko Tipsarevic.
Tomas Berdych then beat Spain’s David Ferrer 3-6, 7-5, 6-1 with a storming third-set to win the group, with Ferrer finishing second and Djokovic free to begin his five-week off-season.
That victory busted the formbook, as Ferrer stood 5-2 against the Czech and had won their last four meetings and both of their hard court matches.
Ferrer faces a quick turnaround with a Saturday semi-final against defending champion Roger Federer, who is so far undefeated this week.
Berdych will take on Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga for a place in the Sunday final.
The Swiss stands 12-0 in that series, last playing the gritty Ferrer a year ago at the year-—ender.
Djokovic, who started the month with just two losses, suffered his fourth defeat in less than three weeks as he went down to Tipsarevic.
The Serb admitted that he has been tapped out physically since a run of injuries, which began in late September after winning the US Open, his third Grand Slam of the season.
“The body says that it’s overloaded. It’s been too much this year,” Djokovic said. “Obviously, mentally, I feel a little bit drained, as well. I just don’t have that freshness in my mind for the matches, and I don’t have these dynamics that I had in all 10 months of the year.
“This is something to be expected after a year that I had. I look forward to go for a much needed rest.” The match with Tipsarevic was a disappointment for Djokovic, who had beaten his good friend and frequent practice partner -- who came on in place of injured Andy Murray this week -- in all three of their previous matches.
This time, Djokovic went down in a flurry of errors, with his serve broken four times in just over two hours, but ended his season with a highly respectable 70-6 mark.
Djokovic, the first ATP player to win at least 10 titles since Federer’s dozen in 2006, was trying to reach his 14th semi-final in 15 tournaments this season.
Ferrer was in control over 2010 Wimbledon finalist Berdych over their first two sets, but changing to a shocking pink shirt to start the third seemed to change his luck.
Berdych took control to run out the winner as he fired a seventh ace for three match points and triumphed on his third chance.
Keywords: ATP World Tour Finals