The best players of the 2009 season gathered at the O2 Arena in London between November 22-29, fighting for the first ATP World Tour Finals at the new venue where it stayed ever since. Roger Federer, Juan Martin del Potro, Andy Murray and Fernando Verdasco had been drawn in Group A and it was one of the craziest runs in the history of this competition, with all 12 matches going into a decider and with no idea who would reach the semis until the very last point of the very last round-robin clash!
Federer, Murray and del Potro had all defeated Verdasco (two of three encounters went into a deciding tie break) and they shared victories among themselves to form one of the closest circles we have ever seen at the ATP Finals, with all three standing on a 2-1 record and a 5-4 in terms of sets won!
On an opening day, Andy Murray took down Juan Martin del Potro while Roger Federer ousted Fernando Verdasco with a strong performance in the deciding set. Facing the elimination, del Potro prevailed against Verdasco in the deciding tie break of the second match while Federer once again saved his best for the last to beat Murray 6-1 in the third and top the standings.
On November 26, Andy Murray could have secured the place in the semis with a straight-sets victory over Verdasco but instead of that, they pushed each other until the deciding tie break where Andy prevailed to send all the attention to the last remaining clash of the group between Roger Federer and Juan Martin del Potro.
Like the previous 11 matches, this turned out to be a real cracker and it was del Potro who made a perfect start after winning the opener 6-2. There were no breaks in set number two and Roger faced elimination after trailing 5-4 in the tie break, only to take the next three points to level the overall score and become the first player who had secured the place in the semis!
The battle was on between del Potro and Murray, with Andy hoping for Roger to win four games in set number three that would send him into the last four as well. The crucial moment of the entire encounter and the round-robin stage came in the seventh game when Roger created two break chances, seeking the break that would punch the semi-final ticket for Murray.
Del Potro stayed calm, repelling them all and closing the game with a forehand down the line winner for a 4-3 lead. Still, the Argentine needed to break Roger's serve in the next game and did that at 15 when Federer's forehand landed long, moving 5-3 up and serving for the match and the place in the semis in the next game.
Juan Martin delivered four winners in that last game, sealing the deal and earning the spot in the semis after winning just one game more than Murray, standing on a 45-43 win-loss ratio and leaving the Briton empty-handed with a 44-43 one!
In the semi-final, Federer lost to Nikolay Davydenko while del Potro played another thrilling clash against Robin Soderling, prevailing 6-7, 6-3, 7-6 in two hours and 11 minutes for the place in the final where he lost to the Russian in straight sets, ending his amazing campaign with the runner-up spot.