Novak Djokovic made it three wins from three in the Green Group Friday at the Nitto ATP Finals, dispatching Cameron Norrie 6-2, 6-1 in a ruthless performance to maintain his perfect record ahead of the semi-finals in Turin.
The World No. 1 had already secured top spot following round-robin wins over Casper Ruud and Andrey Rublev, and played with such confidence against Norrie, dictating from the baseline with his consistent groundstrokes to secure victory after 66 minutes.
“I tried not to think about tomorrow’s semi-final,” Djokovic said in his on-court interview. “It is not easy to walk on the court knowing you have already qualified and you know your opponent. I tried to be professional and I tried to give my best and I played really well. It was the first time we have played each other. I took the time away from Cameron. I analysed his game and knew the game plan and executed it very well.”[FOLLOW FINALS]
Djokovic will face Alexander Zverev in the last four on Saturday after the German finished runner up in the Red Group, while Daniil Medvedev will play Green Group runner up Ruud. It is the first time three former Nitto ATP Finals champions have advanced to the last four since 1994, when Andre Agassi, Boris Becker and Pete Sampras reached that stage.
“[My tennis] gets better and better every match,” Djokovic added. “I couldn’t be more satisfied with my tennis prior to possibly the two most important matches in the tournament.
“Sascha is playing well. He is obviously one of the best players in the world, arguably the best serve, it is definitely up there. It is going to be tough. The conditions are quick, so that will be one of the keys, how well will I serve and return.”
The Serbian is chasing a record-equalling sixth title at the season finale as he looks to draw level with Roger Federer. The 34-year-old, who last triumphed at the Nitto ATP Finals in 2015, arrived in Turin in form after lifting his 37th ATP Masters 1000 trophy in Paris earlier this month.
Djokovic has now earned 51 wins this year, having gone 27-1 in major championship play with title runs at the Australian Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon. The top seed came within one match of the Grand Slam at the US Open, where he lost to Medvedev in the final.
In their first ATPHead2Head meeting, Djokovic started quickly against Norrie as he moved 2-0 ahead. The World No. 1 fired 11 winners and won 92 per cent (11/12) of his first-serve points in the first set to lead.
Fuelled by momentum, Djokovic maintained his dominance in the second set as he closed the net effectively to put Norrie under increased pressure. The Serbian hit with relentless power and depth to end the round-robin stage in style at the Pala Alpitour.
Norrie is the second alternate at the season finale, having replaced Stefanos Tsitsipas, who withdrew due to an elbow injury following his first match. The Briton, who is making his Nitto ATP Finals debut, has enjoyed a breakthrough 2021 season. The 26-year-old captured his first tour-level title at the Mifel Open in Los Cabos, before he clinched his maiden Masters 1000 crown at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.
“I think I played a couple of loose points in the first service game and he relaxed a little bit there, but I’ve watched him quite a lot and he was very solid, he gave me nothing really,” said Norrie. “I knew he had a good serve. I didn’t really know it was going to be this good. I think he had a very good serving day. He was very relaxed and even going after the second serve at times.
“For my level and for me to compete with him, I think there were too many free points, too many easy points in there. But I think it comes down a little bit to the fact you’re playing him, and you try to overplay at times. He was too good, very relaxed, he’s playing amazing and the conditions are perfect for him. Too good for me today.”