Novak Djokovic faces Alexander Zverev in ATP Finals showpiece

Arnold Nichols
November 21, 2018

Yes, he has won three Masters 1000 titles before, and has beaten Djokovic and Federer before, but to beat Novak and Roger back to back in one of the biggest tournaments in the world tells him, most importantly, but also the world, that he is going to be the next big thing.

Djokovic had schooled Zverev 6-4 6-1 on Wednesday in the round-robin stage, but following his victory over Federer, after which he was booed by fans over a controversial point in the second-set tiebreak, the German was a different proposition.

"This trophy means a lot, everything, to all the players". He was a top junior player, progressed to the professional tour, and in the last two years has really stepped up his game, achieving his best-ever Grand Slam result so far this year, reaching the quarter-final of the French Open.

Now Zverev has evened the Head to Head by defeating Djokovic 6/4, 6/3.

It's not outside of the realm of possibility for multiple Americans to make the season-ending championships: After all, back in 1989, five players from the US qualified for the year-end Masters, as it was known then, in NY. But having broken to go 3-2 up in the second, Zverev was finally able to consolidate it by holding the following game and opened a 4-2 lead over the world number one.

Six-time Grand Slam champion Boris Becker, who coached Djokovic to six major titles between 2014 and 2016, watched the match as a BBC Sport commentator.


His two convincing wins over first John Isner and then Alexander Zverev ensured he was into his eighth semi-final at the season finale and still in the frame to win a record-equalling sixth title.

"I'm a little bit upset about the whole situation because this is not how I wanted it to end". Federer, was outplayed by the German youngster, throughout the match. "I was more aggressive today", Zverev said afterwards. "I am incredibly happy and incredibly proud of this moment right now", he added.

The Croatian, however, was unable to maintain his level in the second set, dropping serve twice as Djokovic pulled away to win the last four games of the match. The eventual tie-break went with serve until the 10th point, when Federer netted to hand Zverev a mini-break - an advantage he did not squander.

"I wasn't happy that he beat me, but I was happy for the victory that he had because I'm quite good friends with him".

"I think it was the best match I've played so far this week - it came at the right time", Djokovic, who has been nearly unstoppable in the second half of the year, said. "I mean, I sincerely wish him that".

"I had some really tough and close matches against top guys and I was really believing that it has to turn around at one point", said Khachanov. "As a team, we'll look for ways to improve because I still think there's room for improvement, and there are a lot of objectives I've set myself for next year".

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