Heading to Tokyo with Golden Slam on his mind, world no. 1 Novak Djokovic didn't lose a set en route to the semi-final of the Olympics singles event. The Serb played well against Alexander Zverev to build a 6-1, 3-2 advantage, looking good to advance into the title match after losing in the semis in 2008 and 2012.
Instead, Zverev shifted into a higher gear and grabbed ten of the last 11 games to beat Novak 1-6, 6-3, 6-1 in two hours and three minutes, scoring the third victory over the Serb and the first after five straight losses.
The German lost serve thrice and scored five breaks from nine chances, stealing Novak's serve four times in a row from the second set to build the advantage and bring the victory home with another successful return game at 5-1 in the third.
Zverev fired many winners from both wings, keeping his composure while trailing and leaving Djokovic behind in the second part of the clash.
Alexander Zverev defeated Novak Djokovic in three sets.
Alexander won 13 points on the return in the opening set and reached numerous deuces but failing to take advantage of that.
On the other hand, Novak broke him twice in a row to take the opener 6-1. The Serb moved in front with a forehand winner at 2-1 and held after two deuces in the next one to cement the advantage. The German netted an easy forehand in the sixth game to get broken, and Djokovic closed the opener with an ace at 5-1.
Alexander netted a volley in the second set's fifth game to fall 6-1, 3-2 behind, drifting further away from a positive result. Out of a sudden, Novak got broken at love in the next one, and that game marked the beginning of his downfall.
Zverev grabbed another break in game eight and held after a forehand winner at 5-3 to prolong the match and bring a decider. Carried by this momentum, Alexander broke Djokovic at the beginning of the third set and fended off four break chances in the next one to cement the lead.
Zverev secured another break in the third game with a forehand winner and moved 5-1 up with a couple of good holds. Returning in game seven, Alexander landed a backhand winner to earn another break and roll over the top, setting the gold medal clash against Karen Khachanov.