'Novak Djokovic is tough to beat if you..,' del Potro recalls

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'Novak Djokovic is tough to beat if you..,' del Potro recalls

Juan Martin del Potro claimed two ATP titles on an indoor court in the closing stages of 2012. The Argentine conquered Vienna and Basel and qualified for the ATP Finals, his first season's ending event in three years. Juan Martin ousted Janko Tipsarevic and Roger Federer to advance into the semi-final and set the clash against world no.

1 Novak Djokovic. Del Potro made a great start against Djokovic and opened a 6-4, 2-1 advantage, controlling the pace and looking good to advance into the title clash. Instead, the Serb raised his level and sailed through the rest of the encounter for a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 triumph in two hours and 12 minutes.

Novak bested Juan Martin for the seventh time in nine matches, winning 14 points more and making the difference with the first serve. Djokovic stayed calm while trailing a set and a break, targeting the opponent's backhand more and delivering four return games that carried him home.

The Serb defended five out of seven break points and took charge from the middle of the second to race over the top and set Roger Federer clash. There was nothing to separate them in the extended exchanges, and Djokovic forged the victory in the shortest and mid-range rallies after hitting more winners than unforced errors.

Novak Djokovic defeated Juan Martin del Potro in three sets at the 2012 ATP Finals.

Del Potro broke at 15 in the first set's ninth game and fired three winners in the next one for 6-4 in 47 minutes. The Argentine opened a 2-1 lead in the second set before the Serb pulled the break back in the fourth to end his downfall.

Novak seized the second break chance in the eighth game to open a 5-3 gap and held at 30 in the next one to introduce a decider. Djokovic broke at love at 1-1 in the third set with a forehand winner and fired another direct point from his right wing for another break in game seven and a 5-2 advantage.

Novak emerged at the top with four winners in game eight and celebrated a place in the final. "Novak deserved to come at the top. He raised his level from the middle of the second set and kept it throughout the remaining games.

I played well in the opening two sets. Still, Novak is world no. 1, and he made a difference on the court. It's hard to challenge him if you do not play at your best from start to finish, which is never easy. I claimed the opener and was a break in front in the second set, so I had a chance to win the match.

I started losing the advantage with my initial shot from the middle of the second set, and Novak's return worked well and kept the pressure on me. I defeated Roger Federer yesterday and was close to repeating that against Novak today, which gives me confidence," Juan Martin del Potro said.