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Novak Djokovic to defend ATP Finals crown against Jannik Sinner

Novak Djokovic to defend ATP Finals crown against Jannik Sinner
© Reuters
Novak Djokovic and Jannik Sinner will meet in the final of the ATP Finals on Sunday thanks to respective semi-final wins over Carlos Alcaraz and Daniil Medvedev.

Novak Djokovic and Jannik Sinner will square off in a mouthwatering ATP World Tour Finals championship match on Sunday thanks to respective semi-final wins over Carlos Alcaraz and Daniil Medvedev on Friday.

Italian home favourite Sinner had already earned a slice of history as the first-ever player from his nation to compete in the knockout stages of the ATP Finals, and the 22-year-old continued to dazzle the home crowd with a 6-3 6-7[4] 6-1 win over Medvedev.

Later in the day, Djokovic and Alcaraz faced off for the fifth time on the ATP Tour, but the defending champion proved too strong for his youthful counterpart on this occasion, coming through 6-3 6-2 in the evening session.

On the back of a perfect run in the Green group - sinking all of Djokovic, Holger Rune and Stefanos Tsitsipas - Sinner continued to underline his credentials as a future Grand Slam champion against Medvedev, whom he had overcome in their most recent two meetings.

The fourth seed was forced to navigate his way past one of the tour's finest hard-court athletes in Medvedev, but he saved both of the break points he faced on the day and won 83% of points behind his first serve in another scintillating display.

In the decisive third set, Medvedev fatally double-faulted on break point in the second game and could not recover henceforth, losing his serve again in the sixth game on an unforced error before Sinner saw out a final love hold.

Jannik Sinner reacts at the ATP Finals on November 12, 2023© Reuters

Attempting to spoil the Sinner party in Turin will be the defending champion Djokovic, who owes the Italian a token of gratitude for beating Rune in his final round-robin match to ensure that the 24-time major winner would be present in the semi-finals.

Djokovic had already avenged his Wimbledon loss to Alcaraz by defeating the Spaniard in the final of the Cincinnati Masters in August, and another unpredictably close battle between the world's two top-ranked players was forecast.

However, Djokovic withstood a barrage of Alcaraz pressure exceptionally well, saving each of the four break points fashioned by the Spaniard, who fell victim to Djokovic's returning supremacy as he won just 62% of points behind his first serve.

A near-flawless display from Djokovic also saw the 36-year-old make a mere three unforced errors throughout the one-hour and 28-minute contest, which marked the first time that either Alcaraz or Djokovic had defeated the other in straight sets.

Victory for the 36-year-old on Sunday would see him set an outright record of seven year-end title wins, with his current tally of six ATP Finals crowns also shared by Roger Federer.

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Novak Djokovic celebrates after winning his group stage match against Denmark's Holger Rune on November 12, 2023
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