Novak Djokovic is clearly making his intentions known of gunning for Roger Federer’s record-equalling six ATP Finals titles, after defeating Taylor Fritz in the semis to qualify for his eighth final in Turin.
ATP Finals: Unstoppable Novak Djokovic prevails over Taylor Fritz to reach eighth final in Turin
Novak Djokovic targets equalling Roger Federer’s record of six titles at the prestigious season finale.
There were questions on the Serbian being able to match up with the physical requirements of the match, following his last dead end group game against Daniil Medvedev where he looked physically exhausted.
However, he put all opinions to rest prevailing over Fritz in straight sets 7-6(5) 7-6(6), making it his sixth time victory over the American.
Djokovic made the first break of 3-2 in the first set but immediately gave up the serve. A tiebreak had to be decided, and though it was not all pretty tennis he got the job done, with a formidable forehand shot down the line to win the first set 7-6(5).
The second set began with a break from Fritz, and he was able to keep the lead up to 5-4, then he had a set ball on his racket but the backhand landed in the net, not open field, which allowed Djokovic to manage the rebreak.
A tiebreak was the deciding factor again, and Djokovic led 2-0 after a mini break, but Fritz was able to draw level again. Despite struggling to consistently find his best level, notwithstanding, Djokovic found a way to pull through in both tie-breaks as he wrapped a hard-fought one-hour, 54-minute victory at the Pala Alpitour.
The way in which the 21-Grand slam winner attacked Fritz’s second serve was key to his triumph. He won 61 per cent (14/23) of points against the American’s second delivery, and converted both break points he had.
“I had to fight to survive,” said Djokovic in his post-match interview. “I didn’t feel very reactive today or very comfortable. I knew coming into today’s match from yesterday’s gruelling battle against [Daniil] Medvedev I knew it would take me some time to adjust and find the dynamic movement I need against Fritz, who is one of the best servers on the Tour."
“I had to be very patient, I didn’t start the second set very well, but I managed to break his serve at 5-4 when he was serving for the set, like when [Daniil] Medvedev was serving for the match yesterday. In those moments I found another gear and managed to hold my nerve and make him play another shot in the tie-break.
“I am very pleased to have overcome this one as I don’t think it was one of my best days with my tennis, but I managed to hang in there.” said Djokovic.
The seventh-seeded Serbian star is now one win away from securing the largest payday in Tennis history.