Zverev denies Djokovic another chance to win a major title
Turin For the second time this year, Alexander Zverev denied Novak Djokovic the opportunity to play for a major title.
After defeating the top-ranked in the Tokyo Olympics semi-finals, Zverev beat Djokovic 7-6 (4), 4-6, 6-3 in the same stage of the ATP Finals on Saturday.
The result means that Djokovic cannot match Roger Federer’s record six titles in the season-ending event for top eight players. At least not this year.
Instead, Zverev will play second seed Daniil Medvedev in Sunday’s final.
US Open champion Medvedev beat first-time qualifier Casper Rudd 6-4, 6-2 earlier as he seeks to defend his title at the inaugural tournament in Turin – 12 years later in London.
Medvedev has won his last five meetings with Zverev, including a first-round match earlier this week that was decided in the third set tiebreak.
Zverev won this event in 2018.
Djokovic made a series of uncharacteristically basic errors to give Zverev the decisive break in the middle of the third set.
Next, Zverev kept his cool, saving a break point, before sending an ace chopping down a T on his first point of the match.
But the tone of the match was set in the first set after Zverev saved a set point at 4-5.
In the first set tiebreak, a challenge from Zverev forced Djokovic to hit a second serve and resulted in a double fault. She then hit a backhand from Djokovic into the net and jumped, giving Zverev time to get over her and respond with a sharp forehand angled across the court.
At 5-4 in the tiebreak, Zverev smashed a backhand on the line to wrap up a long run, then served wide on his first point that Djokovic couldn’t return.
In September, at the US Open, Medvedev ended Djokovic’s bid to win a calendar year’s Grand Slam by defeating the Serbian in the final to win his first Grand Slam title.
Dictating play from the start against Ruud, Medvedev improved to 9-0 in the ATP Finals since going 0-3 on his 2019 debut.
Medvedev’s win with an inside-out forehand that finished 32 shots resulted in an early breakout in the opening set. Medvedev then began to change his playing style even more with forays into the net and dropped shots as he broke again in the middle of the second set.
Rudd was broken again when he cut a point for challenging a call, which was under review, giving Medvedev a chance to serve the match.
Medvedev, who had not faced a single break point and won 11 of 15 on the net, finished it off with a serve and a superb shot on his first point of the match.
Rudd, who also lost to Djokovic in straight sets in his opening first-round match, said beating the top two “makes me want to take revenge and be a better player for next year”.
Rajiv Ram and Joe Salisbury will compete in the doubles final against Pierre-Hug Herbert and Nicholas Mahut.
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