London: Nikolay Davydenko`s expectations of beating Roger Federer at the ATP Tour Finals were so low that he was already dreaming of lying on a beach in the Maldives by the end of the weekend.
Instead, the Russian will have to spend at least another day in a cold and damp London after beating the world number one for the first time in 13 attempts.
When Federer`s forehand went spinning into the net on match point on Saturday, Davydenko was able to wipe away seven years of hurt as he reached the final with a 6-2 4-6 7-5 win.
"I (thought) I was going to lose...and next day already in Maldives," a beaming Davydenko told reporters after shattering Federer`s hopes of winning a fifth title at the season-ending tournament.
"But all my family, everybody who supports me, have waited for this moment, you know, when I can beat Federer, because I beat everyone in (the) top 10 except Federer.”
"I was thinking it (was) coming maybe 2010 or `11. But in 2009, end of the season, it`s a good feeling. I waited for a very long time to beat Federer, losing 12 times, and to beat him in London it`s very special."
Since 2005, Davydenko has been one of the most consistent players on the tour, finishing each season in the top five but his inability to produce the results on the big stage have often left him as the most invisible player among the elite.
So low is his profile that he was once the only player among the top 10 without a clothing sponsor.
"For me it`s important how I play and not about how much money I get from a company," said the 28-year-old Davydenko, who joined a select club of players to chalk up wins over Federer and world number two Rafael Nadal at the same tournament.
"I don`t think, I`m now number one because I beat Federer. Because I beat Federer, I know I can beat everyone in the top 10. That`s a really good feeling," added the sixth seed, whose wife Irina was caught on camera giving her husband the thumbs-up sign after his win.
Federer applauded Davydenko for staying focused on the sport despite being linked to a match-fixing controversy two years ago, when he was eventually exonerated.
"He didn`t have the easiest of last few years, where people suspected him of doing bad things in the sport. He had a cloud over his name for quite some time, which was not very fair at the end now," said Federer.
"He handled it very well. To be able to continue playing this well... must not have been very easy for him. So I respect him not only for that, but obviously for the player he is.”
"He proved it was worth hanging in there. He finally beat me today. I wish him all the best for the final."
The Russian will play either French Open runner-up Robin Soderling or U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro in Sunday`s final.