Novak Djokovic kept alive his desire to claim a sixth ATP Finals title by beating Taylor Fritz in straight sets to reach Sunday’s final in Turin.
Djokovic, who was undefeated in the last tournament of the season, won 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (8-6) in less than two hours. He will face third seed Casper Ruud or Andrey Rublev in the final.
The 35-year-old Serb is trying to win his first ATP Finals title since 2015 and equal Roger Federer’s record.
Djokovic had to recover quickly from a grueling three-hour victory over Daniil Medvedev in his final group match, which had ended less than 24 hours earlier.
An impressive display from Fritz saw him recover from the first round. The American broke again in the opening game of the second and looked to be on the verge of taking control of the match as he took a 5-3 lead.
But Djokovic bounced back and found his way through the tiebreaker, winning his second match. He has now won all six of his encounters with the 25-year-old Fritz.
As well as matching Federer’s record, Djokovic also represents the biggest payday in tennis history on Sunday, with $4,740,300 on offer for an undefeated ATP Finals trophy.
“I had to fight to survive,” Djokovic said after winning the final.
“Coming into today’s match from yesterday’s grueling battle against Medvedev, I knew it would take me some time to adjust and find the strong moves I needed against Fritz, who is one of the best servers on the tour.
“I’m very happy that I won this one because I don’t think it was one of my best days with my tennis, but I was able to stay there.”
Fritz reflected after the loss: “I usually do well in tiebreakers. I feel like my record in tiebreakers throughout my career has been pretty good.
“Today I played well in the tie-breakers. It’s a small margin in tennis. It’s always like that. I just need to get better and I’m right there.”