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sports news / November 20, 2022

Djokovic to face Ruud in final as he bids to match record

Novak Djokovic maintained his pursuit of a record-tying sixth ATP Finals title by defeating Taylor Fritz from the United States, securing a spot in the prestigious season-ending tournament’s final. The Serbian will go head-to-head with the third-seeded Casper Ruud in Sunday’s final, aiming to clinch his first title at the event since 2015 and equal Roger Federer’s record.

In a match lasting just under two hours in Turin, Djokovic overcame Fritz 7-6 (5), 7-6 (6), sealing victory on his second match point. This marked Djokovic’s sixth consecutive win against the 25-year-old Fritz. Recovering swiftly from a demanding three-hour battle with Daniil Medvedev in the final group match, which concluded less than 24 hours earlier, Djokovic expressed the challenges he faced.

Despite not feeling at his best, Djokovic acknowledged the need to adapt against Fritz, known for his powerful serving. He commented, “I am very pleased to have overcome this one as I don’t think it was one of my best days with my tennis, but I managed to hang in there.”

Fritz demonstrated resilience by recovering from a break down in the first set and breaking in the opening game of the second. He took a 5-3 lead in the second set, seemingly on the brink of leveling the match. However, Djokovic broke back, and despite a fan disturbance during a crucial point, he navigated through the tiebreaker to secure the win.

Looking ahead to the final, Djokovic emphasized his ability to find another gear in critical moments. He not only aims to match Federer’s record but also stands to claim the largest payday in tennis history, with $4,740,300 at stake for winning the ATP Finals trophy undefeated.

In the other semi-final, Casper Ruud swiftly defeated Andrey Rublev 6-2, 6-4 in just 68 minutes. The Norwegian’s strong performance included breaking Rublev’s serve four times, securing his first-ever final appearance in the tournament.