Novak Djokovic has moved into the last four of the ATP finals for the 10th time with a comfortable victory over Andrey Rublev on Wednesday in Turin. The world number one, who tried to equal Roger Federer’s record of six titles at the season finale, put fifth-seeded Rublev aside 6-3, 6-2 to secure his 50th game victory of the year. Thanks to consecutive straight-set victories, Djokovic held the top spot in the Green Group. “I served well (and) it helped tremendously,” Djokovic said.
“I wanted to put him out of his comfort zone, take away the time and mess up the pace. It was a great show overall.”
Casper Ruud from Norway plays British substitute Cameron Norrie later that day.
The 34-year-old Djokovic wants to end a remarkable year in which he just missed out on completing a calendar Grand Slam with a defeat against Daniil Medvedev in the final of the US Open.
He plays Norrie on Friday in his last round robin match.
A rematch with Medvedev in second place in the final in Italy is still a possibility, with the Russian reigning champion sitting at the top of the Red Group.
Djokovic is bidding for rugby titles after successfully returning to action in the Paris Masters earlier this month and beating Medvedev in the final.
The Serb has not won the ATP final since 2015, losing in 2016 and 2018 to Andy Murray and Alexander Zverev respectively, while also falling into an epic last-four clash with Dominic Thiem last year.
However, the 20-time Grand Slam champion was far too strong for Rublev, serving out 14 aces and hitting 19 winners past his overwhelmed opponent.
He broke twice in each set of a match that lasted just 69 minutes.
“I won the first set and put additional pressure on him, and I may have started playing more consistently from behind the court,” Djokovic added.
Norrie replaced Stefanos Tsitsipas earlier in the draw after the Greek star pulled out with an elbow injury.
The world number four declined to comment on the problem after his opening loss to Rublev, but admitted on Wednesday that the injury that forced him to retire from his first match in Paris still hampered him.
“I made the very difficult decision to retire from the 2021 final due to my elbow injury, which has been bothering me for a few weeks now,” said Tsitsipas.
“It is a very difficult decision on my part.”
Djokovic’s victory leaves Norrie an outside chance to reach the semi-finals, even though he plays one game less than his opponents.
Italian youngster Jannik Sinner is in a similar position in the other group, after replacing the injured Matteo Berrettini and then saying goodbye to Hubert Hurkacz on Tuesday.
(This story was not edited by NDTV staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated stream.)
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