With Andy Murray's withdrawal from Group A and the World Tour Finals completely, lucky loser and replacement Janko Tipsarevic set out to play Tomas Berdych.
The Czech was completely outplayed throughout the first set, and Tipsarevic showed signs of why he improved from a Top 50 to a Top 10 player in just one year.
The Serb dictated play with devastating blows from both wings. He continued to crush flat balls with his rapid body rotation and racket head speed.
The second set remained on-serve until Berdych stepped his game up during one of his opponent's service games to get the one break he needed to win a set.
The final set was decided in a tiebreak—both players visibly showed nerves and uncertainty. Berdych was the first to crack and he granted Tipsarevic a match point.
Janko came to the net on a very risky but aggressive approach shot and just missed the match-winning volley.
At 6-6, he choked by throwing in a double fault that wasn't even close to landing in the service box. This gave Berdych a match point that he could serve out, and he succeeded in doing so.
Yet, after this toughly contested match, one must wonder if Janko Tipsarevic belonged in the match today and if he belongs in the next match against Novak Djokovic.
Anybody who witnessed his drive and fight today would agree that he deserved to compete among the Top 8 best players in the world. However, his confidence dropped immensely after he won a set decisively.
Where will Tipsarevic finish in the rankings next year?
Novak Djokovic's tennis has been an overall disaster this week so far, barely beating Berdych himself (wherein he fought off a match point) and getting demolished by David Ferrer in straight sets.
It seems likely that Janko Tipsarevic could beat Nole; however, he cannot physically make it to the semifinals unless another player withdraws from the tournament (which should not happen). Since the two Serbs are friends, I'm sure they will play less seriously than usual, and Novak should be a predetermined winner so that he could play in the semifinals, but we will have to wait and see.
Regardless of what the next match's results are, Tipsarevic has proved himself to be a much more improved player this year, winning his first title and making it to his first grand slam quarterfinal (at the US Open).
Look for him to make the main draw with his ranking alone next year to challenge the top players yet again.