The last four at the ATP Finals were set on Friday, and favorites and former champions Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic avoided an early semifinal collision after Alexander Zverev ousted John Isner in the opening match 7-6(5), 6-3.
“It’s obviously great getting to the semifinals. But the tournament isn’t over,” said Zverev. “I am in the semi-finals. There’s only good opponents left. There’s only the best in the world. I’m playing Roger tomorrow, which is going to be a very difficult but hopefully very nice match. We’ll see how far I can go.”
Isner’s 2018 season was arguably his best, and he played his first ATP Finals.
“I feel like I ended this season on a pretty positive note,” said Isner. “I played a positive match. I went for my shots. In that tie-break in the first set, I missed a few forehands, but I was going for my shots.
“You make this tournament, you want to do a little bit better. But at the same time this is no normal event. You’re up against the absolute best in the world,” he added. “I just came up short against players that were better than me this week. So I gave it my all. There are definitely some things I could have done better.”
The 21-year-old Zverev moved into his first semifinal at the event and in doing so awarded Djokovic the Kuerten group win and a semifinal matchup against Hewitt No. 2 Kevin Anderson.
In a dead match, Djokovic maintained his high-level beating-up on Marin Cilic 7-6(7), 6-2. He’s now won 17 of 19 against the Croat and finishes the round-robin group undefeated and without the loss of a single set.
“Marin’s a very good returner, so that’s a great stat,” Djokovic said.”It’s not so much about the serve. It’s more about the first shot after the serve. I’ve been trying to use the serve accurately and go for the precision rather than speed. Obviously I had three huge serves in the group: Isner, Zverev and Marin all serve around 135 or 140 miles per hour on first serves on average, so I’m not competing with them in the speed, that’s for sure.”
Cilic now looks ahead to his Davis Cup final next weekend against France.
In a Wimbledon final rematch, Djokovic will meet Anderson on Saturday. He leads the big South African 7-1 taking the last seven including a win last month in Shanghai.
“He’s playing some big tennis throughout the entire year. This is definitely his best season. The past couple of years, he’s been playing his best tennis,” Djokovic said of Anderson. “He’s playing well. He’s serving well and he’s very aggressive, so I know what to expect.”
In the first semifinal, Federer and Zverev will meet for a sixth team, with the Swiss leading 3-2. But they haven’t met since Federer won in the round-robin at this event a year ago.
“Obviously it’s going to be a very difficult match,” said Zverev. “I mean, on this surface, an indoor court, he’s an unbelievable player.”
SATURDAY ATP FINALS LONDON SCHEDULE
Centre Court 12:00 Noon
SF (4) Jamie Murray/Bruno Soares v (5) Mike Bryan/Jack Sock
Not Before 2:00 Pm
SF (2) Roger Federer v (3) Alexander Zverev
Not Before 6:00 Pm
SF (8) Pierre-Hugues Herbert/Nicolas Mahut v (2) Juan Sebastian Cabal/Robert Farah
Not Before 8:00 Pm
SF (1) Novak Djokovic v (4) Kevin Anderson
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