Impressive Djokovic and Federer look destined for final meeting
Novak Djokovic, the ATP World Tour Finals odds-on favourite at 2/5, smashed his way in the semis after dropping just nine games from his three round-robin Group A matches at London’s O2 Arena.
Following his convincing defeat of Marin Cilic and Stan Wawrinka, the Serb saw off, and thus eliminated, Tomas Berdych (6-2 6-2). As a result, Djokovic has now held onto his world number one status until the end of 2014 at least.
The top seed and defending champion is also now 30 matches undefeated on indoor courts, since 2012, and next faces the impressive Kei Nishikori, who has two wins from his four meetings with Djokovic.
After the Serb’s victory over Berdych, he described it as “definitely one of the best.
“Obviously I hoped I could continue the way I played in the first two matches,” he continued.
“It’s been a long year, a long season, it’s an incredible achievement and I want to thank my team and my family and all the people who supported me.
“I’m aware that being number one in the world is the biggest challenge a tennis player can have. It’s an incredible feeling and I’m very happy.”
Despite Djokovic being tied in head-to-heads with Nishikori, Coral have priced him as the overwhelming odds-on favourite for victory, at 1/10. When the Serb has won, though, he always does so in straight sets, so back a more tempting 2-0 result in his favour at 1/3.
Rising Japanese star Nishikori (14/1 tournament chance), meanwhile, got both of his victories over the defending ATP Finals champion at a loss of one set. So he is 6/1 to win, and 10/1 for a 2-1 scoreline.
Nishikori, who is taking part in this competition for the first time, reached this stage after victories over Andy Murray and Milos Raonic’s replacement, David Ferrer, to finish runner-up in Group B.
The other semi-final sees an all-Swiss encounter between Roger Federer and Wawrinka, with the 17-time Grand Slam winner coming through his opening matches in similar vein to Djokovic, without dropping a set. He destroyed a lethargic Murray 6-0 6-1 in the last group fixture.
Federer (12/5 ATP Finals chance) boasts a 14-2 career record over compatriot Wawrinka, and beat him in their only meeting in London so far, which was this year at Wimbledon.
The six-time champion of this competition won in four sets that day and, although 10 out of 12 matches this tournament have been 2-0 victories, back Federer to triumph 2-1 at 3/1. He is, otherwise, a very short odds-on price at 1/6 in the match betting.
Australian Open winner Wawrinka is simply unfancied by Coral here, at 4/1 for victory, but he did well to get to this stage after thrashing Berdych and edging out Cilic in three sets.
On his upcoming opponent and friend Federer, 18/1 tournament outsider Wawrinka said: “I hope I can get a little bit of support because I know people love him here. It’s going to be tough for me, but I need to trust myself and go for it.”