Novak Djokovic advanced to the ATP Masters Cup semi-finals by eliminating German Alexander Zverev on Friday with a 6-3, 7-6 (4) victory, a result that ensured that the world’s four best progressed to the next. round of the last tournament of the season for the first time since 2004.
The world number one Serbian will meet Dominic Thiem on Saturday and will be focused on equaling the record six Masters Cup title and his first since 2015.
In the other semi-final, Rafael Nadal will face Russian Daniil Medvedev.
Djokovic delivered big serves in the important moments in an empty O2 Arena to continue to the semifinals for the ninth time, highlighting his recovery from a 2-0 deficit in the tiebreaker.
“Contrary to what happened in the previous game against Daniil, this time I was able to get the right shots at the right time,” said Djokovic, referring to the loss in straight sets against Medvedev last Wednesday.
Djokovic broke Zverev’s serve to go up 2-0 in the first set, when his opponent double-faulted on the second break point. He then came out of two break-point situations against at 4-2 before scoring the set with a backhand just over the line as he approached the net after a wide serve.
“The game was really for either of us,” said Djokovic. “In the tiebreaker, I again had a good serve when I needed to close the match.”
US Open champion Thiem won a tiebreaker in the third set to defeat Djokovic in last year’s group stage, helping to eliminate the Serbian before the semi-finals.
“It was really an exciting match,” added Djokovic, “so I hope we have another great match, this time with a different result.”
Medvedev will be looking for a third straight group stage win when he meets Argentine Diego Schwartzman, previously eliminated, in a match scheduled for later.