Novak Djokovic reached his 11th semi-final at the ATP Finals with a dominant 6-4 6-1 win over Andrey Rublev in his second round-robin match. The world No 8 looked at his best as he needed just 67 minutes to guarantee spot in the last four in his bid for a record-equalling sixth title at the season-ending championships.
Djokovic and Rublev were facing off as the winners of the opening Red Group matches, with both men hoping to put themselves in a good position to reach Saturday’s semi-final stage. They were also playing for bragging rights in their head-to-head, having faced off two times in the past and splitting victories, but nothing could separate them as they continued to hold easily until the end of the opening set.
The Russian found himself dragged into the first deuce game while serving at 3-4 but managed to hold on before finding himself both set point and break point down in his very next service game after sending the ball wide, throwing his racket to the ground in frustration. The five-time ATP Finals champion was able to steal the first break point of the game with a backhand return winner to take the first set 6-4 in 35 minutes as his family watched on, with his eight-year-old son Stefan fistpumping while Rublev angrily bounced a ball on the ground.
There was barely anything in it during the first set as both men hit 11 winners while the 25-year-old made seven errors to Djokovic’s five, but the Serb quickly pulled away when the second set began. The world No 8 broke for a 2-0 lead after Rublev blew a 40-30 lead on his own serve and continued to display his frustrations as his error count quickly started to creep up while Djokovic remained solid.
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