Novak Djokovic reached his 10th semifinal at the ATP Finals on Wednesday, cruising past Andrey Rublev 6-3, 6-2.
Rublev got up an early break, but that was about the only highlight for the Russian on the day.
“I knew that I had to be on my toes and start well,” said Djokovic. “I dropped my serve again like in the first match. It was quite a nervous start from both of us until 4-3, then with new balls I somehow managed to find the right shots at the right time. I made him play, crucially on the break point at 4-3, when I managed to strike a good passing shot.
“Winning the first set I put additional pressure on him, and I started to maybe play more consistently from the back of the court. I served well, that helped tremendously. I wanted to put him out of his comfort zone, taking away the time and mix up the pace. It was a great performance overall.”
Djokovic is just two wins from a record tying 6th ATP Finals title. Today’s win was also his 50th of 2021.
Rublev will bid for his 50th win on Friday against Casper Ruud.
On Friday, Djokovic will finish his round robin stage against Cameron Norrie. The Brit replaced Stefanos Tsitsipas who withdrew from the event due to an elbow injury he had coming in.
Norrie made his debut against Casper Ruud but the Norwegian came out ahead from a set down 1-6, 6 -3, 6-4. On Friday, Ruud will meet Rublev for a spot in the semis.
“The first set went away a bit too quickly. I think I started off quite well, and then I just had some game points that I threw away,” Ruud said on court. “Cameron is a great baseline player, he makes you play a lot of balls and he runs down a lot of balls and he has a tricky flat backhand, here on these courts it’s a really effective shots.
“I wasn’t getting the feel of his shots at the beginning, so I made quite a few mistakes. For the first set-and-a-half, he was the better player. My serve saved me a bit today on some big points… That’s how tennis can turn quickly, just a break or a couple of points here and there.”
Tomorrow in the red, Daniil Medvedev, who returns to put his seven match win streak on the line against Jannik Sinner, is already into the semifinals. But Sinner is alive as is Alexander Zverev and Hubert Hurkacz. If Zverev wins, he gets in.
“I’m ready to play Hubi on Thursday, and I think that will be the deciding match for me,” Zverev said. “I’m excited, I’m looking forward to it. I think it’s all in my hands, kind of.”
Sinner will have to beat Medvedev and hope Hurkacz upsets Zverev.
THURSDAY ATP FINALS ORDER OF PLAY
CENTRE COURT start 11:30 am
 M. Granollers (ESP) / H. Zeballos (ARG) vs  K. Krawietz (GER) / H. Tecau (ROU)
Not Before 2:00 pm
 A. Zverev (GER) vs  H. Hurkacz (POL)
Not Before 6:30 pm
 N. Mektic (CRO) / M. Pavic (CRO) vs  I. Dodig (CRO) / F. Polasek (SLO)
Not Before 9:00 pm
 D. Medvedev (RUS) vs [Alt/9] J. Sinner (ITA)
“Of course, you want to go on to the semi-finals, you’re trying to do your best, but on the other hand, these are the best eight players in the world. And with me, nine,” Sinner said. “Everyone is tough to beat here, so let’s see what’s coming.”
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