Novak Djokovic, current world number one reached the semi-finals of the ATP finals after a spectacular game against Alexander Zverev.
Describing the first set as being tensed and highly competitive, Zverev was a stiff opposition for the Serbian.
After the first set, pegged at 6-4, Djokovic ran away with the second set to beat the German opponent 6-4, 6-1.
Djokovic has not reached the last four of the ATP finals since 2015, and was delighted to do so.
“I don’t think it was breathtaking tennis but a win is a win,” he said.
“I played well midway through the second set and started to swing through the ball.
“I had not served that well but he made a lot of unforced errors which helped me to win.”
Indeed, it was a double-fault from Zverev that gave Djokovic the first set and a total of 33 unforced errors that
contributed to the 21-year-old’s downfall.
Afterwards, Zverev himself implied that fatigue had perhaps also played a part, saying the length of the tennis season was “ridiculous”.
Djokovic faces Cilic in his final round-robin match on Friday, while Zverev takes on Isner.
Where Zverev missed it
And the turning point of the match was at 4-4 on Djokovic’s serve, when Zverev went 0-30 up.
But a forehand and then backhand error wiped out the advantage and the German bounced his racquet off the ground in frustration.
Djokovic netted a forehand to give Zverev a brea- point, which he wasted by returning long balls, and the Serb
then gave him a second chance with a double-fault but the youngster missed that break-point when an attempted
lob drifted long.
So, in the end, Djokovic held his serve with a lovely drop-shot and never looked back.
Three errors in a row in the next game gave Djokovic his first break points of the match and while Zverev saved one
of them with a smash, he gave the set away with his only double fault of the first set.
Consequently, the opening two games of the second set were close, Djokovic whacking his shoes with his racquet
when he failed to break in Zverev’s first service game having taken him to deuce.
And the magic moment came; Djokovic turned the screw, with the German taking only three points in the final five
games as the 14-time Grand Slam champion wrapped up victory against an apparently tiring Zverev in one hour
and 16 minutes.
“The issue is that our season is way too long. But I’ve said it before,” Zverev, whose 55 match wins this year is more
than any other player, told reporters.
“We play for 11 months a year. That’s ridiculous. No other professional sport does that.”