London | Djokovic out aces Anderson
NOVAK Djokovic is one match away from a record-equalling sixth Nitto ATP Finals crown.
The world No.1 and tournament favourite blitzed South African debutant Kevin Anderson 6-2 6-2 at the 02 on Saturday night.
It is not very common to serve more aces than Kevin. That stat helps the confidence Novak Djokovic
And he faces third seed Alexander Zverev, who beat Roger Federer, the joint record holder, earlier in the day.
It will be a re-match of their encounter in the round-robin on Wednesday when Djokovic scored a straight-sets win.
Djokovic is in irresistible form. He came into the tournament having lost just two matches since the start of July, claiming Wimbledon, beating Anderson in the final, the US Open and the Cincinnati and Shanghai Masters while regaining top spot in the world rankings.
Against Anderson he showed why he is rated a great returner.
And he has yet to drop a set in his four matches.
But his serve has caught the eye most at the Finals. He has yet to drop a set.
His serve has remained unbroken in 36 games. In fact, he has only had to save two break points.
Is this the best the 14-time Grand Slam champion has ever served?
He said: “Possibly. It is not very common to serve more aces than Kevin. That stat helps the confidence.”
But Djokovic, who had elbow surgery and under-performed in the first six months of the year, is taking nothing for granted.
The Serb, 31, said: “I played very well in the group stage against Sascha but I don’t think he was close to his best.
“He had a great match against Roger today and been serving well. So it will be a similar approach as against Kevin, trying to get as many first serves back.
“It is the last match of the year for both of us so let the better player win.
“I think it (the defeat of Anderson) was the best match I’ve played so far this week – it came at the right time. Kevin has been playing great tennis this week.
“He lost serve in the first game which was big because he relies so much on his serve. I tried to win as many points on his second serve as possible. It worked very well.”
“I’m very pleased I’m able to play at a high level consistently week after week for the last six months.”
Talking to the BBC, he added: “A lot of players are tired coming into the final part of the season but this is one of most important tournaments for us. I’m very happy to reach the final.”
Zverev is under no illusions about the size of his task against Djokovic and knows only his best will give him a chance of an upset.
The German said: “Novak right now is the best player in the world. It’s very tough to beat him. He’s barely lost a match in the last six months.
“He’s playing amazing tennis. You have to play your best game to even have a chance. I hope I’ll be able to do that,”
Zverev, who was barracked by the crowd against Federer for stopping play because a ballboy dropped a ball, was asked how he would react if booed against Djokovic.
He said: “If I get booed? I just hope it doesn’t happen. I don’t know why I should get booed. I hope people realise that I’ve maybe not done anything wrong.”