ATP Finals: Roger Federer beats Novak Djokovic to reach semifinals

Ross Houston
November 15, 2019

Roger Federer will be the first to admit that beating Novak Djokovic at the ATP Finals on Thursday night doesn't make up for his gut-wrenching defeat in the Wimbledon final but he avoided a double blow in London and inflicted some woe on the Serb himself.

"He was the better player in all aspects", the 32-year-old said. So it was definitely magical.

Djokovic's first defeat by Federer for 4 years means Rafael Nadal will end the year as world number one for the fifth time even if the Spaniard fails to reach the semi-finals.

Speaking about what was distinct from Wimbledon, he mentioned: "I received match stage I guess".

"I got what I kind of expected, and it was a great feeling at the very end. I feel like I moved on pretty quickly after that".

Djokovic said it had been a "bad match" from his side but admitted Federer had done everything right.

Berrettini finished with a 1-2 record this week. "But every time you step on the court, you know there is something on the line".

Djokovic served two double faults in the third game of the match and Federer pounced to break.

When Djokovic did belatedly muster a break point in the fourth game of the second set, it only spurred Federer to new heights.

Federer had made just one unforced error in the 55 points played, and he carried on, cool as a cucumber to a raucous soundtrack of fans who could barely contain themselves.

Djokovic is the strong market favourite at [1.38] to progress and I think that this looks a little short, although not to the extent of Thiem in that opening match today. I had a clear game plan and it worked to perfection.

Djokovic said he experienced some pain in his elbow early in the second set but didn't think it would stop him from playing in the Davis Cup in Madrid next week.

"I have lost so many matches in my life that I know how to move on. It was probably just an awkward, quick movement that I did, it did not pose any form of issues later on".

In Thursday's early match in Group Bjorn Borg, which was a lifeless rubber, eighth seed Matteo Berrettini beat Thiem 7-6 (7/Three), 6-Three. Having nailed a return at the feet of Djokovic to clinch victory, Federer leaped in the air, yelling in delight.

There was not much difference between them in this set with the exception of 1 break that the Swiss conquered in the 3 game (2-1) before winning the set (6-4). Thiem had already qualified for the semi-finals after his win on Tuesday against Djokovic.

There were a number of talking points on Wednesday with our pre-tournament outright Stefanos Tsitsipas cruising to his second win and qualifying for Saturday's semi-finals with a day to spare with a victory over Alexander Zverev. Thiem was already assured of a spot in the semi-finals as group victor.

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