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. (Agencies)
The 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 Friday.
"It is the perfect start to season. I played great," Djokovic said. "It's something that makes me very happy."
However, 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 apologized to the crowd for disappointing them with his quick exit and promised to play better 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.
"You 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 USD250,000.
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.