Djokovic Tops Zverev To Set Blockbuster SF Field At ATP Finals; Nadal v Medvedev
by Staff | November 20th, 2020, 10:03 pm

For the first time since 2004, the Top 4 in the ATP Rankings have reached the semifinals at the ATP Finals. The last of the four spots was decided Friday on the final day of the round robin in London where Novak Djokovic played one on his best matches topping 2018 champion Alexander Zverev 6-3, 7-6(4).

Djokovic got a break thanks to an ill-timed double fault from Zverev early in the first, then held on to his own serve saving all three break points faced to win a high quality affair against the German who hammered 12 aces to 6 double faults.

”I felt great. Early in the first set he had a couple of break point chances. I managed to serve well in the important moments and contrary to the last match against Daniil, I just managed to find the right shots at the right time,” said Djokovic. “Sascha, I have tremendous respect for him. He’s a great player, huge serve. Obviously not easy to return the 140 miles per hour first serves. Sometimes just have to pick your side, block, hope you can be in the exchanges in the rallies from the back of the court.

“It was really anybody’s game, I think, for most of the match. In the tie-break I just read his approach from 4-3, served well when I needed to to close out the match.”

Zverev finished the year 1-2 in the Tokyo Group, but came on strong the last few months of the year including the US Open final.

“It was a great year. Unfortunately, I lost a lot of big matches,” Zverev said. “”I lost semifinals in Australia, which I could have won. I lost the final of the US Open which I should have won, kind of. Final in Paris-Bercy. This match here.

“A lot of tough matches, a lot of tough moments, but a good year for me. A lot to build on for next year.”

Djokovic now completes an incredible final four line-up in London featuring the Top 4 in the world meeting. The World No. 1 will now face No. 3 Dominic Thiem tomorrow and then it will be No. 2 Rafael Nadal against No. 4 Daniil Medvedev.

Djokovic, who reached his ninth semifinal at the event, has won seven from 11 against Thiem. But the Austrian has won two of their last three and pushed Djokovic to the brink in the Australian Open final.

”Obviously earlier in his career played his best on clay, but of course being one of the hardest workers on the Tour and most dedicated players, Dominic found his ‘A’ game on all other surfaces,” said Djokovic. “His first Slam came on hard courts earlier this year in New York. I played him last year here and lost 7-6 in the third set. It was really a thrilling match. Hopefully we can have another great match, but hopefully this time with another outcome.”

In the late match, Daniil Medvedev showed no mercy toward Diego Schwartzman. The Russian had already earned his spot on Saturday against Nadal, but wasn’t ready to take his foot off the pedal and give the Argentine his first win at the event.

While Medvedev maybe wasn’t invested 100% in the contest, he blew past Schwartzman 6-3, 6-3 to win his eighth straight match.

“I was playing great in the two previous matches. I think it is always good to stay undefeated for the confidence. I wanted to win the match, so I am really happy that I have done it,” said Medvedev who went 0-3 last year at the ATP Finals. “I was serving really good today, so that helped me a lot throughout all the match.”

The 24-year-old Russian will now try to earn his first career win against Nadal who he’s lost to all three prior meetings.

“I like playing all of the Three,” said Medvedev. “When I was so young, just starting to hold the racquet and just started to be interested in tennis – because actually I was not watching it when I was four or five – I started to see Grand Slams.

“Basically when I started playing it, Roger was already there, I think, winning almost everything. Then Rafa came to make his mark, and then Novak came to try to disturb them all the time.

“So always great to play against them. I’m really looking forward to the match, feeling confident. I think Rafa is also.”

A year ago Medvedev led Nadal 5-1 in the third set and eventually had a match point in the ATP Finals round robin before the Spaniard surged back.

The last time the Top 4 made the semifinals at this event was 16 years ago in 2004 when Roger Federer beating Lleyton Hewitt in the final. Andy Roddick and Marat Safin were in the semifinals.

Winners on Saturday will pick up an additional $402K to their round-robin earnings. Plus another 400 ATP Ranking points.

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13 Comments for Djokovic Tops Zverev To Set Blockbuster SF Field At ATP Finals; Nadal v Medvedev

Daniel Says:

Still can’t believw Djoko lost 7 straight points after being up 4-0 in breaker. But overall Thiem was better and should have close sooner in 2nd set.

Thiem second straight final, maybe this time he’ll do it. Bit Medvedev is on fire and Nadal knows this is a huge oportunity for him, not facing neither Fed nor Djoko in finals, as the ones he loss before.

jatin Says:

Nice match so far.. Rafa vs medvedev…
Great comeback after being 4-5 down by medvedev as rafa was serving for the match.
Final set underway….

chrisford1 Says:

Down goes Rafa, yet again! No Championship trophy may ever come his way. He’ll be back carping on why he never gets to play on clay, outdoors, and why move the ATP Finals to Milan? He’s jinxed indoors.
Credit to Daniil Medvedev, who has improved by leaps and bounds in 2019 and 2020. He’s Top 5 and may be #1 sometime in 2021.
I was following the Guardian feed on Djokovic-Thiem and the commentary was full of praise of the high level of play of both guys. That is a match I want to see later, in full, when I can.
Rafa and Novak are done, good years for both, but not stellar ones.

Dave Says:

Djokovic has no mathematically clinched most weeks at number 1. Another record

Dave Says:

Daniel, he lost 6 straight points. Saved 1 match point and lost 7-5 in the breaker

Django Says:

Rafa had a huge opportunity in Bercy with no Fed or Djokovic and couldn’t do it either.

skeezer Says:

Thiem earned those 7 straight points. In fact, he gifted Djoker the first point in the TB with a Double fault. He had 5 match points on Djoker, glad he was able to finish him.
Bye Bye Djoker. Congrats Theim, who shows a better all around game than Djoker now.
Djoker has the worse OH, Volley, and transition game of the top 4. Amazing he got to #1 with all that was missing in his game. Kudos to him.

Van Persie Says:

I was not surprised at all that Nole and Rafa lost, let’s be serious: Dom and Med were the best during this week.

Skeezer, I feel you’re frustrated, that your man no longer holds any important record, but hey, 2021 will be a bit better for you. Nole will lose more and more matches, so we will be “lucky” to read more often from you😉

And now about Nole, he reached so much during his career, that I cannot be angry, when he loses. Time for him to enjoy, what he achieved this year and to relax.

It is the time for the next gen to show up more often and I feel it will happen also at slams starting with next year.

Van Persie Says:

Well done to Rafa aswell, ok, looks like he cannot win the WTF. If it did not happen this year, do not really see it coming in the next years either. He’s not getting any younger, but hey, he reached Nr 20 at slams, which is huge. So not too bad for him 😉

j-kath Says:

Well done to “Med” & “Dom.” – beating the BIG boys. However, haven’t written off either Rafa & Novak – hope to see both of them in a more normal scenario next year – imagine both of them will have the same longevity as Roger.

Dave Says:

I honestly wasn’t expecting Nole to even make the semifinals let alone have a chance to beat Thiem, He wasn’t even running at 100% and he still almost beat Thiem, And he managed to even beef up his serve. Hitting serves in the high 120’s. Haven’t seen him do that in a long time. Can’t wait to see how he does when he is running on all cylinders again next year.

chrisford1 Says:

Big congrats to Daniil Medvedev. I really like to watch him play. He is a another guy who may be a worthy successor to the Big 3. Like Thiem, super nice guy with a lot of heart and Medvedev also has a good sense of humor from his interviews and social media posts.
A very good year for Rafa, Novak, Domi. and Daniil.
For young Jannik Sinner, too.

Poor Novak, though on his errant USO ball. Had he got decent points there, he wouldn’t be sweating a chase pack hauling him out of #1 before he can pass Fed. And Rafa’s mental thing with a roof above him is both sad and funny. When Djokovic said the roof stays closed at Wimbledon in 2018, I laughed and knew that canny decision meant Rafa is now doomed! But, Rafa got his 20th and is likely to have the most Slams when he is done of the Big 3, IMO, which matters a lot to Slamcentric fans.

Skeezer – “Djoker has the worse OH, Volley, and transition game of the top 4. Amazing he got to #1 with all that was missing in his game.”

Yeah, amazing we had the Decade of Djokovic, 2011-2020, isn’t it? I would dispute your comment on a transition game. Djokovic’s greatest strength is court position he gets through his speed, defense, ability to change the direction of the ball precisely – until he gets an error or gets a short ball to pounce on. So one of the best defense to offense transition games in tennis. Ever.
His volleys are not as sweet as what Rafa and Andy Murray can do, but certainly no weakness.
On his smash, as Boris Becker said in a video he released with him talking to juniors, paraphrasing:
The smash is not that important compared to any other shot a pro needs to learn. Novak’s proved that, and I can say that because we are friends and he knows his smash stinks. He has the worst smash of any champion to have played our sport. In fact, he has the worst smash in the top 100 players right now.

Wog Boy Says:

Rafa and 39 years old couldn’t break Nole for the last 15 years but Karen from Kentucky has done it in a split of the second.
Nole was never the same after USO, that hurt him more than he wants us to know, he couldn’t wait for the year to finish.
Hopefully he can recover mentally for the next year but I doubt it, everything points out that he had enough of it (everything).

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