Abu Dhabi - Novak Djokovic easily swept aside Roger Federer 6-2, 6-1 to reach the final of the World Tennis Championship exhibition on Friday.
No 1-ranked Djokovic appeared to have shaken off the rust he
complained about coming into the event and showed plenty of the dominant
play that helped him amass a 70-6 record last season including three
Grand Slam titles.
The 24-year-old Serb twice broke No 3-ranked
Federer in the first set and ran off nine games in a row in a one-sided
affair that lasted only 44 minutes. In Saturday's final, Djokovic will
face the winner of the match between second-ranked Rafael Nadal and No.
5-ranked David Ferrer later on Friday.
"It is the perfect start to season. I played great," Djokovic said. "It's something that makes me very happy."
Djokovic said fans shouldn't read too much into his win over Federer,
against whom he had a 4-1 record in 2011, including victories at the
Australian Open and US Open.
Djokovic attributed his win in Abu
Dhabi to having a match under his belt - a win over Gael Monfils on
Thursday - and a quick start that gave him momentum and prompted Federer
to make several unforced errors.
"He has won over 15 matches at
the end of 2011 so I'm sure he won't feel down after this loss here,"
Djokovic said. "His main goal here is to get a couple of matches under
his belt as it is for all of us."
Federer apologised to the crowd
for disappointing them with his quick exit and promised to play better
on Saturday when he faces the loser of the Nadal-Ferrer match. He said he
felt "good overall" and "was moving well" but that he just was unable to
chase down Djokovic's groundstrokes that repeatedly caught the corners.
"It's surprising when it goes quick and you are on the losing side. It's not so comfortable sometimes," Federer said.
try hard and try different things and it's not working. He was playing
really well. Unfortunately, it was a short-lived match but we know he is
a very good front runner. He took the lead in both sets quite early and
that made it difficult because conditions were pretty quick and my game
was not good enough today to make it more competitive."
The six-man tournament is seen as a warm-up for the new ATP season which begins next week. The winner receives $250 000.