The last day of the ATP Finals round-robin stage to place Friday with Novak Djokovic and Andrey Rublev coming ahead in that order in the Red Group.
Rublev kept his ATP Finals title hopes alive by reaching the semifinals after a solid 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 win over former champion Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Rublev was 0-2 against the Greek in 2022 and looked to headed toward a third loss until he rallied from a set down.
“I didn’t give up. I kept fighting and playing,” Rublev said. “I lost my emotions a bit when I lost a stupid game at 40-0 in the first set. I let my emotions go. But then I just kept fighting and playing and you will have chances. I thought I would have chances if I just gave my best. I managed to turn the match around and I am happy to be in the semis.”
Said Tsitsipas, “It’s a shame… I feel like the better player. I felt like I could do more with the ball today. I felt like I could just be much more creative. I don’t even have to say that. I think it’s quite obvious.
“But, yeah, he prevailed with the few tools that he has. He was able to really take advantage of them and win today.”
Into his first semifinal stage at the ATP Finals, Rublev will now face Green Group winner Casper Ruud tomorrow.
“Casper is such a nice person on and off the court,” Rublev said. “He is a great player, great fighter. He has achieved so many good things this season, so it is going to be a really good challenge for me. I hope I will do my best and I will see what happens.”
Earlier, Djokovic didn’t need a win over Daniil Medvedev as he had already clinched his semifinal berth, but he also didn’t want to have a marathon match with no day of rest. Djokovic was able to win the Red Group with the win over Medvedev but need three hours, 11 minutes to do it in a 6-3, 6-7(5), 7-6(2) thriller.
“This match against one of the greatest rivals I have today is very important, regardless of the fact that I had qualified already,” said Djokovic. “I really wanted to win.
“Daniil and I have had some battles in the past and I knew coming into the match today that it was going to be his last match of the season and he wouldn’t want to finish with a loss. I started off very well. Had chances in the second, had some break points but he played very well in those decisive points. He was playing really quick. I didn’t fell physically well in the third set, struggled a lot. It is a battle and it is a fight.”
Djokovic was broken at 4-all in the third however Medvedev failed to serve it out, and the Serb took advantage in the breaker for his 40th match win of the season.
“At 4-5 I managed to read his serve and anticipate well and got myself in a good position. I started off very well in the tie-break. Tough three matches for him, losing 7-6 in the third in all three matches. It is not easy, but he is an amazing player. I have a lot of respect for him and what a great battle.”
The former champion Medvedev finished 0-3 on the week and failed to serve out both Djokovic and earlier Tsitsipas.
“It’s a disaster,” said Medvedev. “What I’m really happy is that this match didn’t count in going out of the group, otherwise I would have two matches where I lost serving for the match. At least this one didn’t count. I’m going to try to be better next time. I have no other choice.
Medvedev never seemed to recover from blowing that Australian Open final lead to Rafael Nadal.
“In general after the Australian Open I cannot find huge results from myself,” he admitted. “Even if I made some finals, won tournaments. I didn’t play bad. I’m in Torino in the top eight. But I would expect more from myself.
“Vienna and Astana I played great, today I played great. I’m confident I’m going to be able to do something big in the future. Just need to continue working. Going to be sad for one, two days, then enjoy my days off, then get ready for the next season.”
Next for Djokovic will be a fresh and in-form Taylor Fritz first up tomorrow at 2pm local time. Djokovic will have to get over the three hour affair and focus on two more wins this weekend to take a sixth ATP Finals titles.
Of the four semifinalists, only Djokovic has won the title before and Ruud is the only other to have been to the semifinals before.
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