The last edition of the ATP Finals in London could still have its dream final after top seed Novak Djokovic beat Alexander Zverev 6-3 7-6(4) to seal a semi final spot on Friday.
Defeat by Russian Daniil Medvedev had left the five-time champion needing to beat Germany’s Zverev whom he lost to in the 2018 final to avoid a group stage exit and he obliged with a relatively straightforward win.
Djokovic will finish second in the Tokyo Group, named after the first edition of the season-ending tournament 50 years ago, and with Spanish world number two Rafa Nadal finishing second in the London Group, they have avoided a semi-final clash.
The 33-year-old Serb will face U.S. Open champion Dominic Thiem in Saturday’s semi-final, when Nadal plays Medvedev.
Sunday’s final will end the tournament’s memorable 12-year stay in London before it re-locates to Turin.
Djokovic was pummelled 6-3 6-3 by an inspired Medvedev on Wednesday, but was much sharper against Zverev another one of the new generation trying to barge the old guard off stage.
“In contrast to the match against Daniil I found the right shots at the right time,” he said. “I have tremendous respect for Sascha, a great player and not easy to return 140mph first serves. It was anybody’s game for most of the match.”
Djokovic is bidding to equal Roger Federer’s record of six ATP Finals titles, while Nadal seeks a first.
Round-robin action concludes later on Friday with Medvedev looking to complete a sweep of the group by beating Argentine debutant Diego Schwartzman who cannot progress.