World no. 1 Novak Djokovic will not seek the sixth ATP Finals crown in Turin, losing the semi-final clash to another former champion Alexander Zverev. The German toppled the Serb 7-6, 4-6, 6-3 in two hours and 28 minutes for his second final at this event, setting the title clash with Daniil Medvedev.
Alexander beat Novak for the fourth time in 11 encounters and second in 2021 after the Olympic Games, staying calm and doing everything right to overpower the top favorite and remain on the title course. The German won eight points more than the Serb and played better behind the second serve to neutralize Novak's 52 out of 60 points after landing the first serve in.
Both players fended off three out of four break chances and blasted 29 aces to use the fast surface with both hands and stay neck and neck. Zverev kept his coolness throughout the encounter, hitting only one double fault and enduring thrilling rallies with Djokovic to emerge at the top.
Alexander Zverev defeated Novak Djokovic for the second time in 2021.
Alexander tamed his strokes nicely to hit 35 winners and 24 unforced errors, overpowering Novak in the most extended exchanges to cross the finish line first and move a win away from the second ATP Finals crown.
Players barely lost a point in the opening nine games, serving well and keeping returners away from even half a chance. In one of the pivotal moments, Zverev blasted a powerful serve to fend off a set chance at 4-5 and bring the game home after Djokovic's backhand mistake.
After wasting his opportunity, Novak faced two break points in the 11th game and erased them with two winners to stay in touch until the tie break. Returning at 4-3, Alexander won a point at the net following a lucky net cord and closed the opener with two winners at 5-4 after precisely an hour.
There was nothing to separate them until 4-4 in the second set, and Djokovic grabbed the first break with a deep return that pushed him in front. Serving for the set, the five-time champion seized the fifth set point with an ace that introduced a decider after an hour and 45 minutes.
Zverev stayed calm and delivered his first and only break at 2-1 in the final set, taking advantage of Djokovic's loose backhand to forge the pivotal lead. Alexander cemented the break with a service winner and saved a break point in game seven after Novak's basic mistake to remain in front.
Serving for the victory at 5-3, the German fired an unreturned serve down the T line to beat world no. 1 and set the title clash versus the defending champion Daniil Medvedev.