Novak Djokovic dismisses Alexander Zverev to close in on ATP semifinals

Doug Mendoza
November 15, 2018

Novak Djokovic produced a commanding performance for Cristiano Ronaldo on Monday night as he eased to an opening group win at the Nitto ATP Finals.

There was much hope that yesterday's match between the two players would make for a rare competitive encounter at The O2 arena, but the world No 1 Djokovic took full advantage of a Zverev capitulation to triumph 6-4, 6-1 in 67 minutes.

Djokovic is chasing a sixth ATP Finals title and his first in the prestigious season-ending event at London's O2 Arena since 2015.

Djokovic, who will end the year as world number one for the fifth time in his career after a storming second half of the season, leads the Gustavo Kuerten group.

In his 11th appearance at the ATP Finals, the Serb was guaranteed to reach the last four for the eighth time after Marin Cilic beat John Isner 6-7 (2/7), 6-3, 6-4 in Wednesday's second match.

"I held serve well, I backed it up from the baseline, I played very solid and didn't give him many opportunities".

"I don't think it was breathtaking tennis from both of us but a win is a win", said Djokovic, who hit only three winners in the first set compared to Zverev's 15.

"I started to play better in the second set and he was making a lot of unforced errors, which helped me win".

The top-ranked Djokovic and third-seeded Zverev engaged in a number of thrilling early exchanges, but it wasn't until the ninth game that Zverev earned the first break point of the match, aided by a friendly net cord.

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When he lost the first set to the American on a tiebreak it looked like more misery for Cilic, but he responded in superb fashion, even if he needed some help from Isner's mighty serve.

"I am going to enjoy some quality time with my family and then get ready for the last game in the group".

It was a crucial escape for the 14-time Grand Slam champion, who stepped up the pressure on Zverev to steal a hard-fought first set.

But Cilic, whose only other Finals victory came against Kei Nishikori in 2016, had other ideas as he roared back to take the final two sets.

It was the first match all week that went to three sets.

Djokovic saved the first with heavy serve but then double-faulted, offering Zverev another glimpse.

"I guess winning the first set really counts this year".

Debutant Isner double-faulted to hand Cilic a decisive break in the eighth game of the second set and then did the same to gift Cilic a break at the start of the third. "For that, I have to play good tennis".

Other reports by GizPress

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