Novak Djokovic Downs Taylor Fritz In Semi-Finals To Move Close To Roger Federer’s Record
Novak Djokovic remained on course to win a record-equalling sixth ATP Finals title with a 7-6 (7/5) 7-6 (8/6) victory over Taylor Fritz in Turin on Saturday.
Djokovic shrugged off his painful encounter with Daniil Medvedev the day before to lead the semi-final against the ninth-ranked American.
The 35-year-old Serbian will face the winner of the second semi-final between Andrei Rublev and Kasper Ruud.
Victory in Sunday’s final would see him equal Roger Federer’s six wins at the tournament featuring the world’s eight best players this season.
“I had to fight to survive,” said Djokovic, who has now reached the final of the tournament eight times and last won in 2015.
“I didn’t feel too reactive or too comfortable. I knew coming into today’s match from yesterday’s grueling battle against Medvedev, it would take me some time to adapt and find the dynamic I needed against Fritz, who is one of the best servers on the tour.”
Djokovic has now beaten the 25-year-old Fritz, in all six of their meetings.
said the American player, who was playing for the first time in the Masters tournament after taking advantage of the withdrawal of world number one Carlos Alcaraz.
“But I’m sure two weeks from now I’ll look back and say, yeah, it was a really great week.
“I just didn’t get a chance to play Globalism Tour Finals, I made it out of the group, and had a good couple of wins.
“I think the takeaway is that when Novak played, he was the best player.
“There’s no doubt about that. When he didn’t play, which is a long period of the year, we saw a lot of different results because when you take him out of the equation, I think every other player is very close to the level.
“There are 15 to 20 people who can all beat each other on any given day given the circumstances. That’s why a lot of these different results, different people winning. It’s just how it happens.”
Djokovic will seek to win his second major title this year, after Wimbledon, after missing a large part of the season, including the Australian Open and the US Open, for refusing to take a Covid vaccine.
The Serb held on in large part thanks to his serve efficiency – he won 85 percent of the points played on his first serve in the first set and 75 percent throughout the match, and his ability to deliver a knockout blow at the right time.
Fritz didn’t make many mistakes, but they were all severely punished.
Djokovic is chasing his fifth Tour-level title this season after Rome, Wimbledon, Tel Aviv and Astana, and now holds a 45-17 record in the ATP Finals, which he won in 2008 in Shanghai and in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 in London).
“I am very happy to be able to compete for another major title, one of the biggest titles we have in our sport,” said Djokovic.
“Hopefully I can play at the level I’ve played most of the games this week and get the trophy.”
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