TURIN, Italy. Novak Djokovic maintained his bid for a record-breaking sixth ATP Finals title by beating Taylor Fritz of the United States on Saturday to reach the final of the prestigious season-ending tournament.
Djokovic, who went unbeaten in the group stage, won 7-6(5), 7-6(6) in less than two hours in Turin to secure his second match point victory.
Now he has won all six meetings against the 25-year-old Fritz.
In Sunday’s final, the Serb will face either third-place Kasper Ruud or Andrey Rublev as he tries to win his first title in the tournament since 2015 and match Roger Federer’s record.
Djokovic had to recover quickly from a grueling three-hour victory over Daniil Medvedev in his last group match, which ended less than 24 hours earlier.
“I had to fight to survive,” Djokovic said. “Today I didn’t feel very reactive or very comfortable. I knew going into today’s matchup after yesterday’s grueling battle with Medvedev, I knew it would take me some time to adjust and find the dynamic move I needed against Fritz, who is one of the best servers on the tour.
“I’m very happy that I got over it as I don’t think it was one of my best days in tennis, but I managed to get through it.”
Thanks to Fritz’s energetic performance, he bounced back from his breakdown in the first set. The American also broke down in the first game of the second and appeared to be on the verge of equalizing as he took a 5-3 lead.
But Djokovic broke down and again found a way to break through in the tie-break.
“I had to be very patient, I didn’t start the second set very well,” Djokovic said. “But I managed to interrupt his serve at 5-4 when he served for the set, like yesterday when Medvedev served for the match.
“At times like this, I find another pass and I manage to keep my composure and get him to play another tie-break shot.”
In addition to possibly matching Federer’s record, Djokovic could also claim the biggest payout in tennis history on Sunday, with $4,740,300 being offered for the undefeated ATP Finals trophy.