By Ros Satar, at the Nitto ATP Finals

  • Novak Djokovic [1] v Alexander Zverev [3]
  • H2H: Djokovic leads 2-1
LONDON, UK – Novak Djokovic stands on the cusp of equalling Roger Federer’s record of six season-ending finale titles, but Alexander Zverev could spoil the party.

 

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Novak Djokovic [1] v Alexander Zverev [3] | H2H: Djokovic leads 2-1

Novak Djokovic in the second round robin match of the ATP world Tour Finals 2018, London

Novak Djokovic in the second round robin match of the ATP world Tour Finals 2018, London | (GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images)

It all comes down to this, as the championship title match sees World No. 1 Novak Djokovic face the much-regarded challenger to the Big Four dominance, Alexander Zverev. While Djokovic has all the experience in the world, having now reached his seventh championship final, this is Zverev’s first time, and it was a little tumultuous for the 21-year-old.

READ MORE | Tennis | ATP World Tour Finals 2018 | Zverev stuns Federer in straight sets, hostile crowd boo him for winning

Djokovic’s path to the final though was far more solid as he delivered another masterclass, taking in and effectively dismantling Kevin Anderson in straight sets, and has yet to drop a set on his way to the final

READ MORE | Tennis | ATP World Tour Finals 2018 | Djokovic demolishes Anderson to round out final line-up

Having met already in the group stages, Zverev will probably want to remember how he stayed toe-to-toe with Djokovic in the first set and forget how he fell away completely in the second set.

Alexander Zverev in the second round-robin match at the ATP World Tour Finals 2018, London

Alexander Zverev in the second round-robin match at the ATP World Tour Finals 2018, London | (Photo by Fred Lee/Getty Images)

What was more impressive was how he came back against Roger Federer in the second set after being broken and stayed very much in the present. There is pressure on both players’ shoulders. Djokovic is chasing the record, while Zverev is trying to become the first German to win the ATP Finals since Boris Becker in 1995.

Djokovic has been little short of invincible this tournament. While all around him have contended with various wobbles, trials and tribulations, he has been pretty steadfast, and once more is proving that he has earned the mantle of World No. 1 by returning to the top spot and clinching the year-end spot on the 5 November, following a 22-match winning streak. In amongst that he picked up two Slam titles in the year, following elbow surgery that hampered the start of his season.

Zverev was not without his achievements this year. He leads the tour win table with a 57-19 record and three titles, including defending his ATP Rome Masters title. He is the youngest finalist since Juan Martin Del Potro in 2009 and is regarded by many as the one most likely of the chasing pack to win a Slam.

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Where Djokovic hurt him in the round-robin was a relentlessness – not only from the baseline with solid ground-strokes off both wings, but also obviously with his trademark backhand down the line. He has lost none of his agility around the court, and his serve seems to be back to full power.

He will look to get on the end of Zverev’s serves once more – and we saw how effective he was against the German, John Isner and finally against Anderson in the semi-final. Zverev will have to play as aggressively as he did against Federer and be prepared this time to grind it out for three sets. If he lets Djokovic take control of the rallies on his serve, he will be on a hiding to nothing very quickly as we saw in the second set of his group stage match.

This should be a competitive final, but it is hard to see past Djokovic, although Zverev might steal a cheeky set off him.

Prediction: Djokovic in three sets.

 

 

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