Novak Djokovic vs. Roger Federer: Preview and Prediction for Tour Finals Match

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistNovember 12, 2012

MASON, OH - AUGUST 19:  Novak Djokovic of Serbia and Roger Federer of Switzerland pose for photographers after the trophy ceremony during the final of the Western & Southern Open at the Lindner Family Tennis Center on August 19, 2012 in Mason, Ohio.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Even though the ATP World Tour Finals featured one of the most competitive fields of the season, No. 1 Novak Djokovic and No. 2 Roger Federer have reached the championship match to nobody's surprise. They will now battle for the year's final marquee title.

Djokovic advanced to the finals with a three-set victory over Juan Martin Del Potro. It was the second time in three matches that the Serbian star dropped the opening set before fighting back to win the final two, previously doing it against Andy Murray.

Speaking of Murray, that's who Federer defeated in the semifinals. It was an impressive display of vintage Federer tennis, as he used his unmatched number of different weapons to take down the Olympic and U.S. Open champion.

Djokovic and Federer are not strangers, of course. The friendly rivals have faced off 28 times during their storied careers, with the Swiss Maestro having a four-win advantage (16-12).

The momentum was actually in Djokovic's favor for a while, as he won six of seven meetings during a stretch from last year's Australian Open to this year's French Open. But Federer has regained the edge with two straight triumphs.

When breaking down the match, it comes down to two main factors: Djokovic's ability to break serve against Federer, who has held an astonishing 91 percent of the time this season, and which player is able to gain the ground-stroke edge.

Before the semifinal matches, it would have been tough to pick against Djokovic. But Federer took his game to another level against Murray, especially after winning the first set tiebreaker. He was simply unstoppable.

Even at age 31, when he's at his peak there isn't a player on the planet better than him. The only reason he hasn't been winning as many major titles lately is because finding that peak has become tougher for him over the years.

It was certainly on display against Murray and, if he's able to carry the momentum over to Monday's final, he's the player to beat in the match.

Djokovic must find a way to get involved in Federer's service games early in order to turn the tide in his favor. He doesn't necessarily have to break, but he needs to make Federer work for it. The easier his holds, the more energy he'll have to return.

Regardless of the result, tennis fans should be in for a terrific matchup between the sport's top two players. Ultimately, look for Federer to earn the victory in a match that goes the distance.

Prediction: Federer in three sets