ATP Finals: Novak Djokovic beats Kevin Anderson to reach final

ZverevFederercropped

The dream final match-up between Federer and Novak Djokovic at London's O2 remains a tantalising prospect, but not if 21-year-old hot-shot Zverev has his way.

The victory over fourth-seed Anderson in the Lleyton Hewitt Group takes Federer through to the semi-finals for the 15th time in 16 attempts at the season-ending finale and means he will likely avoid a meeting in the last four against in-form Novak Djokovic.

Federer was leading 4-3 when Zverev stopped mid-rally after a ball slipped from a ball boys' hand and into his line of vision.

Zverev served an ace before going on to close out the match moments later.

"I want to apologise for the situation in the tiebreak", Zverev said on court. You have to play your best game to even have a chance.

"I had some really tough and close matches against top guys and I was really believing that it has to turn around at one point", said Khachanov.

Zverev is the first German to reach the final of the season-ender since Boris Becker lost to Pete Sampras in 1996.

The usually mild-mannered Nishikori smashed his racket on the ground in disgust but he did at least make a better fist of the second set, although he was powerless to prevent Thiem running out a 6-1 6-4 victor.

"He apologized to me at the net". "I was like, 'Buddy, shut up".

"[Anderson] is playing some great tennis, it's definitely his best season and he's continued doing that throughout this tournament. You're up against the absolute best in the world".

Federer was not about to be ushered off without a fight though and a rapier-like backhand pass gave him the early break in the second set, only for Zverev to hit back immediately.

In the second set, a single break of serve in the eighth game proved decisive and he served out for the win. To punish Anderson for failing to seize his chance, Federer broke to lead 4-3, only to be broken straight back to love as Anderson used the width of the court to full effect.

He saved the first, but Zverev confidently put away a backhand drive volley to set up a shot at the biggest title of his career and leave Federer waiting until next season for his 100th title.

But the frustrated 20-time Grand Slam victor could not consolidate his position, losing the next game as Zverev levelled at 2-2. There's many positives, to be quite honest. But victory at the tour's flagship event would exceed those achievements.

But at 3-4, Zverev made some brilliant returns right down the middle of the American's feet to secure a pivotal break. I also have high hopes to always do well.

"You were a stud Florida Gator football player, me a Georgia Bulldog tennis player". I don't know, Paris or Wimbledon, whatever happened.

"I probably look more closely to our indoors, the last couple matches, playing him - played him at Laver Cup, obviously in Shanghai as well", Anderson said.

Having ended a two-year Grand Slam title drought by defeating Anderson in the Wimbledon final, Djokovic went on to win his 14th major trophy at the U.S. Open and has already sealed the year-end No. 1 ranking.

Previously, the young German took down Cilic but fell to the top seeded Djokovic in his second match.

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