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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Friday November 20, 2020

Novak Djokovic

World No.1 Novak Djokovic stopped Alexander Zverev to book his spot in the semis at the Nitto ATP Finals.

Photo Source: Getty

Novak Djokovic rushed out to a quick start and made it stand up against Alexander Zverev on Friday at the Nitto ATP Finals. The World No.1 battled past the German 6-3 7-6(4) to book the final semifinal spot in London and set a clash with last year’s runner-up Dominic Thiem for a spot in the final.

Tennis Express

In 13 appearances Djokovic has now reached the semifinals at the ATP Finals in London nine times.

The Serb saved all three break points he faced and was the better player under pressure in the one hour and 36 minute contest.

“Novak served incredibly well, I thought, today,” Zverev said. “I had to go very far back to return his serve. It was very difficult for me, but, yeah, credits to him. I think I started playing really well actually in the second set, so a few points decided the set.”

The World No.1 broke quickly in Zverev’s first service game of the match to lead 2-0, on a double-fault by the German. It would be all he would need to lock up the opening set.

Zverev had a look on return with Djokovic serving at 2-4, 15-40, but two very solid first-serves from the 33-year-old went unreturned and Djokovic held on, settling the game with a pair of overhead winners for the 5-2 lead.

Both players saved break points in the final set and it was Djokovic who held sway in the tiebreaker to seal his triumph.

The World No.1 is 14-1 in tiebreaks in 2020, and he pulled away at the finish, elevating to win five of the final six points.

With tomorrow’s face-off with Thiem less than 24 hours away, Djokovic knows he’ll need to elevate even further if he is to reach the final in London.

"Every time we got to play I think in the last three, four matches, it was some marathon, thrilling encounters. Five-setter in the finals of Australian Open earlier this year,” Djokovic said. “It's semifinals, so I'm expecting a tough battle, no question about it.”

Djokovic leads the lifetime head-to-head with Thiem 7-4, but Thiem has taken two of their last three encounters, including the 2019 Roland Garros semifinal and last year in round robin action at the ATP Finals.

“He's in a very good form,” Djokovic said. “He loves to play in this surface. Obviously he played finals last year. He beat Roger and myself last year in the O2 Arena. If I manage to play as well as I did today and show up with a high quality of tennis, I think I have a good chance to win. I mean, I'm just hoping I can start off the match as well as I did today.”


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