Roger Federer won a record sixth title at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals last night with an enthralling 6-3 6-7 (6/8) 6-3 victory over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at the O2 Arena in London.
Having weathered an early storm to win the first set, the 30-year-old, who was looking to go through the tournament unbeaten for a second consecutive year, looked to have victory in his grasp when he served for the match at 5-4 in the second.
But back came Tsonga, levelling and then fighting from 5-2 down in the tie-break to level, only for his opponent to clinch the crucial break in the decider.
Federer, who also becomes the tournament’s oldest winner, previously held the record jointly with Pete Sampras and Ivan Lendl, while his 70th victory in his 100th final, netted the Swiss more than £1m.
Federer, who will take a winning streak of 17 matches into next season, said: “I couldn’t be more happy and I couldn’t be more exhausted.”
Tsonga added: “I want to congratulate Roger. Without you maybe I could get some of your titles but you are the best.”
It was the third Sunday in a row in which Federer and Tsonga had faced each other after the former’s victories at the Paris Masters and in the group stages here, and their eighth meeting of the year.
Tsonga, looking to become the tournament’s first French winner, was certainly more impressive in his win over Tomas Berdych on Saturday than Federer had been against David Ferrer.
Federer already has a host of records to his name, most importantly the 16 grand slam singles titles he holds, and last night was also a landmark 100th career final, 70 of which he has won.
That is still a long way short of Jimmy Connors’ mark of 163 but for Federer it is a pleasing reminder of the consistent level he has managed to achieve over so many years.
And the 30-year-old is guaranteed to retake the world No 3 spot in the rankings from Andy Murray this week.
Third seeds Daniel Nestor and Max Mirnyi won the doubles title with a 7-5 6-3 victory over Polish duo Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski.
Triumphing in the end-of-season tournament is becoming a habit for 39-year-old Canadian Nestor, who also lifted the title in 2007 with Mark Knowles and in 2008 and 2010 with Nenad Zimonjic.
Belarusian Mirnyi, meanwhile, was a winner in 2006 with Jonas Bjorkman, and for the pair it completed an unbeaten week at London’s O2 Arena, which also included a group win over eighth seeds Fyrstenberg and Matkowski.
It has been a good first full season together for Mirnyi and Nestor, the highlight being a grand slam title at the French Open in June.