Published: Wed, November 21, 2018
Sports | By Brett Lawson

Roger Federer puts thought of 100th title to back of his mind

Roger Federer puts thought of 100th title to back of his mind

World No.1 Novak Djokovic joined the 37-year-old Federer in backing the young German.

After his victory over Kevin Anderson in the semi-finals on Sunday, Djokovic took to social media with a shout-out for his driver. There's only the best in the world.

He finally struck at 4-4, profiting from a pair of uncharacteristic errors on the suddenly brittle Djokovic forehand to earn the break of serve. But it was a forehand victor from Isner that brought up the first break point, and set-point, of the match-only for Zverev to hammer down a 143 ace. Zverev 18 times filed through, committed 2 double faults and converted one break point.

And Zverev talked up the presence of the only other players to have beaten Djokovic since the start of this year's Wimbledon - 22-year-old Russian Karen Khachanov and Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas, 20.

But the former champion was unable to wrestle control from the powerful Zverev, who held serve well and then took advantage of a exhausted Djokovic service game, finishing off with a magnificent backhand victor down the line.

"I think it's just going to be hard to finish it, but I'm happy I gave myself the opportunity".

The 21 year-old German - latest coaching project of the gnarled old Czech - came up with the flawless response when produced a remarkably authoritative display to see off Novak Djokovic and win the Nitto ATP Finals at a packed 02 Arena. "Firstly I want to congratulate Novak - we may never have seen the tennis he has played in the last few months before". The booing went into cheering kind of afterwards, which kind of helped me.

"So I'm happy he now has Ivan Lendl as a coach because Ivan, who won eight Grand Slam titles, can tell him the same stories I can tell him and brings an understanding of the game to his team", Becker said.

"The crowd have been absolutely wonderful all week. I didn't understand a word you were saying but it's not important". Serve dominated the first set of a high-class match, with neither player able to make serious inroads, Zverev sending down howitzers around the 140 miles-per-hour (225 kilometres per hour) mark.

Chants of "Let's Go Roger, Let's Go" reverberated around the darkened arena as the second-set tiebreak began and there were boos as Zverev stopped a rally when trailing 3-4 because a ballboy had dropped a ball.

Alexander Zverev's reaction after defeating Novak Djokovic
Alexander Zverev's reaction after defeating Novak Djokovic

"This trophy means a lot, everything, to all the players".

"Oh my God", said Zverev, who also became the first German victor since 1995.

An increasingly-ragged Djokovic then dropped his opening two service games of the second set, either side of breaking Zverev for the first time as the German played a rare loose game.

The tall South African was disappointed with his own showing in Djokovic's 6-2 6-2 victory in the semi-finals of the Nitto ATP Finals.

Khachanov recorded his third straight Top 10 win at the Paris Masters after shocking John Isner and Alexander Zverev.

"Sascha [Zverev] definitely played much better than he did in the group stage".

In becoming the youngest ATP Finals champion since Djokovic, also 21, in 2008, Zverev sent out a clear message that he is ready to spend a considerable amount of time at tennis' top table and start accumulating the game's biggest prizes.

"I think it was the best match I've played so far this week - it came at the right time", Djokovic, who has been nearly unstoppable in the second half of the year, said.

"I hope I can do great".

I think the time he had off earlier in the year rejuvenated him and made him realise how lovely tennis is and how much he still has to give.

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