Djokovic beats Zverev, advances to semifinals at ATP Finals

Ruben Hill
November 22, 2020

The Nitto ATP Finals 2020 will be live-streamed on SonyLIV.

Thiem took their last match in the semi-finals of this year's US Open in straight sets, but the Russian served for the second and third sets before falling in close tie-breaks, 9/7 and 7/5. He's got the experience of having almost won it previous year, and this time in the final, he comes in as a Slam champion.

On Saturday, world number four Medvedev rallied from one set down to beat Nadal 3-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-3, to reaching his first final at the ATP Finals and set the marquee clash with world number three Thiem.

"I don't think I played bad, I made all my first serves; he just crashed the ball and everything went in".

When it ended with Djokovic sailing a forehand long, Thiem dropped his racket and covered his face with his hands. But in the earlier tiebreaker, Thiem acknowledged, "I was mentally not that strong".

To put world number four Medvedev's win into perspective, Nadal had triumphed in the last 71 matches in which he had taken the first set. His serve was rolling while Nadal was on his heels.

What a difference a year makes.

The 24-year-old Medvedev reached the semi-finals as the only player to post a 100% record in his group, including a superb defeat of Djokovic.

Thiem is only the second player in 2020 to win a tie-break against Djokovic, who entered the third-set decider with a 15-1 tie-break record this season.

The disbelief that sparked Daniil Medvedev's countenance on Saturday night was a contrast to the dazed look of 12 months ago, when the Russian led Rafael Nadal down the home straight, having kicked-up a 5-1 lead, even holding match point.

Djokovic had his first break point of the match at 4-3 but narrowly missed a return, while a couple of errors from Thiem presented his opponent with two set points at 6-5.

But Djokovic saved that initial chance with a 127 miles per hour service victor.

It has been a joy to watch the progress of Thiem, especially, over the last year and a half as he has worked tirelessly to become a tireless force on a hard court when he had been pigeon-holed as a clay specialist for so many years.

Djokovic, 33, earned his first break point of the match in the eighth game but Thiem snuffed out the danger.

The third was at 9-8, when he pushed a down-the-line forehand wide. I got so tight in the second-set tie-break.

Nadal, seeking the one major pot missing from his vast collection of silverware, must have seen the door creaking open when Thiem produced a staggering fightback to beat Djokovic 7-5 6-7 (10) 7-6 (5) in a classic contest lasting nearly three hours. Andy Murray is the other.

Earlier he had told a press conference: "I sincerely wish for him that he overcomes this soon and that he can focus on his life and tennis career". "Every time we got to play in the last three or four matches, it was some marathon, thrilling encounters". It's a huge opportunity to learn.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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