Turin [Italy], November 20 (ANI): Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic stormed into the final of the ongoing ATP Final after a win over America's Taylor Fritz in the semifinal on Saturday.
Djokovic passed a stern semis test, defeating the American by 7-6(5), 7-6(6). He is now just one win away from equalling Swiss legend Roger Federer's record of six titles at the prestigious event that concludes the season.
Djokovic broke to love in the fifth game of the first set against Fritz in order to build some early pressure. But the American levelled 3-3. Both players struggled to find their top form and Djokovic managed to produce a moment of brilliance on set point with an amazing forehand winner that helped him clinch the tie-break.
Fritz was aggressive in the second set, breaking his opponent in the opening game. A missed backhand from Fritz at 5-4, 30/30 proved to be instrumental in changing the match. Djokovic capitalised to reclaim the break before securing another win in a tie-break, clinching the first spot in the final.
"I had to fight to survive," said Djokovic afterwards as quoted by ATP. "I did not feel very reactive today or very comfortable. I knew coming into today's match from yesterday's gruelling battle against [Daniil] Medvedev I knew it would take me some time to adjust and find the dynamic movement I need against Fritz, who is one of the best servers on the Tour," said Djokovic.
The seventh seed Djokovic smashed 21 winners as compared to 31 by his eighth seed opponent. The Serbian was delighted to claim the win.
"I had to be very patient, I did not start the second set very well," said Djokovic. "But I managed to break his serve at 5-4 when he was serving for the set, like when [Daniil] Medvedev was serving for the match yesterday. In those moments I find another gear and managed to hold my nerve and make him play another shot in the tie-break."
"I am very pleased to have overcome this one as I do not think it was one of my best days with my tennis, but I managed to hang in there," concluded Djokovic.
Djokovic is chasing his sixth title win, which will have him tied with Federer. He is also aiming for his fifth tour-level trophy of the season, after holding trophies in Rome, Wimbledon, Tel Aviv and Astana.
The Serbian has a 45-17 record at the ATP Finals, where he won the title in 2008, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015.
Despite the disappointment of his loss, Fritz was happy about having pushed the 90-time tour-level champion to his limits.
"Typically I am good at tie-breakers," reflected Fritz. "I feel like my tie-breaker record throughout my career has definitely been really good. Today I played both tie-breakers pretty well... I am right there. It is small margins in tennis. It is always like that. It is very small margins. [I] just need to get that little bit better and I am right there," said the American. (ANI)