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By Rohit Sharma
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The remarkable 2009 season comes to a close with some extremely unusual results highlighting the eight-day season ending championships in London's magnificient O2 Arena. The semifinal line-up at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals featured only one former champion, Roger Federer, who suffered his first defeat in 13 career meetings with the Russian Nikolay Davydenko. The second semifinal was the first for both Robin Soderling and Juan Martin Del Potro. But the Argentine's swashbuckling play fetched him a place in the finals in only his second appearance at the year-end finale.
Let's take a closer look at the contendership of both finalists as they make one last attempt to seize the top honours -
2009 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals
Nikolay Davydenko vs. Juan Martin Del Potro
Davydenko leads series 2-1
Last Meeting - 2008 Tennis Masters Cup RR
Davydenko won 6-3, 6-2
Current U.S. Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro made the semifinal cut with his impressive win over world number one Roger Federer in three closely contested sets. The competition became a lot severe in his next match against Soderling, where the Argentine fought off two tie-breaks and a final set break deficit (twice) to finally enter the trophy match. Del Potro showed signs of a true champion on several occasions including his see-saw scuffle with Spaniard Fernando Verdasco, which turned out to be a battle of nerves ending in the tall Argentine''s favour.
His opponent in the final is the man who has atleast one thing in common with him, wins over Federer and Soderling. Nikolay Davydenko showed remarkable improvement in his game post his opening RR match debacle against Djokovic. His straight sets win over Rafael Nadal brought the best out of him. The Russian's strongest ally is his shotmaking brilliance and the ability to find astonishing angles in long rallies.
It is hard to predict the winner as both players depend largely on their groundstrokes to win the points. However, Del Potro has a slight edge over his opponent in terms of his stronger, more effective serve. Both players are have shown the hunger for excellence and that is perhaps one thing that has helped them the most in reaching the final. Davydenko does have the additional experience going into the Grand Finale, however, Del potro's gutsy play and youthful exuberance makes him the favourite to win the title.
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