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Zverev Advances at Nitto ATP Finals with win over Hurkacz, Awaits Djokovic in Semis Of Torino

Alexander Zverev will play Novak Djokovic in the semifinals of the Nitto ATP Finals tennis tournament in Turin, Italy. EPA-EFE/Alessandro Di Marco.

By Ricky Dimon

One semifinal is set at the 2021 Nitto ATP Finals and it is a rematch of the 2018 finale between Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev.

It’s a rematch of nine other meetings, as well. Djokovic leads the head-to-head series 7-3, but Zverev pulled off an upset in that London final three years ago. Overall the Serb is 2-1 lifetime against Zverev at the year-end championship, having earned round-robin wins in 2018 and 2020. They most recently faced each other in the semis of the U.S. Open this summer, when Djokovic prevailed 4-6, 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2.

Zverev earned another shot at the world No. 1 when he clinched second place behind Daniil Medvedev in Group B with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Hubert Hurkacz on Thursday afternoon. The German cruised in one hour and two minutes, improving to 2-1 in round-robin competition and guaranteeing a finish ahead of Hurkacz and alternate Jannik Sinner.

Zverev had little trouble sending Hurkacz to a 0-3 mark in the Pole’s Nitto ATP Finals debut. The world No. 3 struck 11 aces without double-faulting a single time, did not face a break point, and he recorded 22 winners compared to only eight unforced errors.

For Zverev, the only tense moments came when Hurkacz held his first four service games of the second set en route to a 4-3 advantage. After holding for 4-4 and then breaking for 5-4, the third seed trailed 0-30 while serving for the match. However, Zverev quickly erased that deficit by winning four points in a row to secure victory.

Hubert Hurkacz of Poland in action during his group stage match against Alexander Zverev of Germany at the Nitto ATP Finals tennis tournament in Turin, Italy, 18 November 2021. EPA-EFE/Alessandro Di Marco

“Today was a tough match mentally because I needed to win, so I was 100 percent focused,” the 24-year-old explained. “It was very up and down, and I am happy to be through and win in straight sets. You can always improve. The margins are always very small between the top players, but to win you have to do the details right. I hope I can do that on Saturday.”

Meanwhile, Djokovic will play his final round-robin match on Friday against Cameron Norrie. The top seed has already clinched the win in Group B with straight-set defeats of Casper Ruud and Andrey Rublev.

Ricky contributes to10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.