ATP World Tour Finals 2012 Results: Novak Djokovic Affirms Favorite Status

Tyler ConwayFeatured ColumnistNovember 7, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 07:  Novak Djokovic of Serbia hits a backhand during the men's singles match against Andy Murray of Great Britain on day three of the ATP World Tour Finals at the at O2 Arena on November 7, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

With a scintillating victory over third-seeded Andy Murray on Wednesday, Novak Djokovic has re-established himself as the unquestioned favorite in the 2012 ATP World Tour Finals.

Winning the match 4-6, 6-3, 7-5, the 25-year-old Serbian battled all match despite Murray bringing his best game. The 2012 U.S. Open champion played an almost perfect first set, bringing back stark memories of the two men's fantastic battle at Flushing Meadows.

However, what Murray soon found out is something that each of the players that remain after group play will soon find out: It will take complete perfection to take down Djokovic at the World Tour Finals.

Though things certainly did not go the way the world No. 1 player expected this year, he's perked up in a big way of late. A dominant winner at both the China Open and Shanghai Masters in October, Djokovic looked far more like the 2011 version of himself than the player who won just one major this season. 

And despite the World Final being a relatively obscure tournament on the national radar, it's one where only top-flight players get invited. There are no opportunities for warm-up matches against overmatched opponents, meaning every point has been hotly contested and will be going forward.

By beating Murray, Djokovic receives top billing in Group A, a distinction that will almost certainly allow him to avoid Roger Federer before the final. Instead, Murray and Federer will likely meet in the same semis before having to face the daunting Serbian for the championship. 

Nonetheless, based on everything we have seen thus far, it would likely take an in-his-prime Federer to take down Djokovic. If the Serbian star continues to look this great, a victory at the World Tour Finals could transcend an individual tournament and carry over to 2013.

It's a point that has been beaten into the ground by every tennis analyst, but 2012 was truly the year of parity atop men's tennis. Murray, Federer and Djokovic all had their moments where they looked like the world's best player, as did injured star Rafael Nadal, whose season essentially consisted of a French Open victory and disappearance from the national consciousness. 

Though Nadal is absent and still a lurking presence, a tournament filled with top players cannot be ignored. Whichever star wins the World Tour Finals should not only be considered the best in the world, but a favorite to dominate the tennis landscape in 2013. 

Right now, it looks like we're destined for a Federer-Djokovic faceoff. Based on what we saw Wednesday, I have a hard time believing even a top-shelf performance from Federer can matchup against a red-hot Djokovic.