Novak Djokovic gets convincing win v Rublev to top ATP Finals group and make semi-finals

Novak Djokovic celebrates Serbia's WC qualification

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info

Novak Djokovic has advanced to the semi-finals and topped the Green Group at the Nitto ATP Finals with his second round-robin victory. The world No 1 defeated Andrey Rublev 6-3 6-2 in an hour and eight minutes in what was their first career meeting, during the second group-stage match on Wednesday (November 17).

Djokovic and Rublev had never faced each other coming into the Nitto ATP Finals.

Both players qualifier in 2020 but were not drawn in the same group stage, so were yet to meet on tour.

They had both won their opening round-robin matches as part of the Green Group on Monday (November 15), over Casper Ruud and Stefanos Tsitsipas respectively.

It was the young Russian who took hold of the match first, immediately breaking the world No 1 in the opening game.

JUST IN: Stefanos Tsitsipas withdraws from ATP Finals to be replaced by Norrie

Djokovic responded to break straight back and had another break point in Rublev’s next service game, but the world No 5 was able to hold on and level things for 2-2.

The pair appeared neck-and-neck for the rest of the set, until the five-time champion took hold while the 24-year-old was serving at 3-4, and broke at a crucial time to serve for the first set, holding to love to take the opener 6-3.

Having secured another break point after an incredible get at 1-1 in the second set, the 34-year-old roared and jeered the crowd on, immediately breaking to lead 2-1 as the world No 5 sent a backhand wide to gift his opponent the game.

Djokovic broke once again at 4-2 as a now-deflated Rublev continued to fire errors off his racquet, and the world No 1 served out a 6-3 6-2 victory to make it to the semi-finals and get one step closer to his goal of equalling Roger Federer’s record of six ATP Finals titles.

Federer ‘extremely unlikely’ to play at Wimbledon and sets return date
Berrettini withdraws from ATP Finals with emotional injury statement
Roger Federer names ‘ultimate dream’ he has before retiring

Djokovic will next face Britain’s Cameron Norrie in his final round-robin match on Friday (November 19).

The recent Indian Wells champion made it into the draw as a second alternate on Wednesday (November 17) following the withdrawal of Stefanos Tsitsipas.

The Greek had suffered a 6-4 6-4 loss to Rublev in his opening round-robin match, but was a doubt to compete at the ATP Finals after retiring injured from his opening match at the recent Rolex Paris Masters with an elbow injury.

He was set to face Casper Ruud in the evening session match on Wednesday but withdrew in the morning with the same elbow injury, gifting Norrie a spot in the prestigious year-end championships field.

Tsitsipas’ withdrawal comes after world No 7 and home hope Matteo Berrettini was also forced to pull out of the ATP Finals on Tueday (November 16).

The Italian had retired while 6-7(7) 0-1 down to Alexander Zverev in his first match on Sunday (November 14), having picked up an abdominal injury early in the second set of the match.

He was hoping to recover in time for his second group-stage match, which was rescheduled from the 2pm local time daytime session to the 9pm local time evening session to allow him more time, but just hours before he was set to take to the court against Hubert Hurkacz, he announced that he was “devastated” to have to pull out of the tournament.

Another Italian, first alternate Jannik Sinner, took his place to face the Pole, and secured a 6-2 6-2 victory in front of a raucus home crowd to keep his hopes of making it to the semi-finals alive.

Source: Read Full Article