Novak Djokovic books Dominic Thiem semi-final with victory over Alexander Zverev
Novak Djokovic defeated Alexander Zverev to set up a semi-final clash against US Open champion Dominic Thiem at the Nitto ATP Finals.
For the second day in a row at London’s O2, one of the world’s top two tennis players found himself in a straight shoot-out for a place in the last four.
And Djokovic emulated Rafael Nadal, who beat Stefanos Tsitsipas, by seeing off 2018 champion Zverev 6-3 7-6 (4).
The top seed’s victory means the world’s top four players make up the last four, with Daniil Medvedev already through as group winner ahead of his clash with Diego Schwartzman on Friday evening.
Djokovic was well beaten by the Russian in his second match, producing a performance that was well short of his best, but he was quickly on the front foot here, winning the first seven points.
A Zverev double fault handed him the break and that was all the advantage he needed to claim the first set.
Zverev – the only man to beat Djokovic, Nadal and Roger Federer at the tournament – was below his best in his first two matches, although he rejected suggestions that the focus on serious assault allegations made by an ex-girlfriend, which he strongly denies, was having an effect on him.
The German improved in the second set, beginning to put some real pressure on the Djokovic serve, although he was unable to force a break.
Djokovic still was not playing at the top of his game but, as he so often does, he found a way to win the points he needed and a fine tie-break saw him across the finish line.
It is the ninth time in 13 appearances at the tournament that he has made the knockout stages and he is two victories away from a record-equalling sixth title.
On This Day in 2015: Andy Murray inspires Great Britain to Davis Cup victory
Great Britain had not won the Davis Cup since 1936.
Recalling how Britain won the 2015 Davis Cup final amid a backdrop of terror
Kevin Palmer recalls the dramatic 2015 Davis Cup final.
EXCLUSIVE – On the fifth anniversary of Britain’s Davis Cup win, captain Leon Smith reflects on a glorious year
On this day five years ago, Britain won the Davis Cup.
Novak Djokovic ‘met the goal he set out at the beginning of the season’, says his coach
A good season for Novak Djokovic.
Tennis Top 10
ATP top 10 prize-money earners in 2020: Novak Djokovic at No 1 with two surprise names on the list
Novak Djokovic sitting pretty at No 1.
WTA to adopt ATP-style categories with events changed to WTA Masters, WTA 500, WTA 250?
Changes in line for WTA categories, according to a report.
Dominic Thiem hopes to emulate his coach and experience ‘incredible’ medal winning emotions at Olympics
Dominic Thiem sets sights on Tokyo Olympics.
British tennis given a boost as the LTA agrees a new partnership with Dunlop
LTA ends challenging year on a high with Dunlop deal.
EXCLUSIVE – Davis Cup captain Leon Smith echoes Andy Murray views as he outlines his vision for tennis in 2021
Leon Smith hopes tennis can return to normal in 2021.
Daniil Medvedev: ‘Inside of me there is a winner that maybe sometimes is a bit childish’
Daniil Medvedev determined to drop the antics.