Novak Djokovic exploded into lethal form at just the right moment on Saturday, dismissing Carlos Alcaraz 6-3, 6-2 for a place in his ninth title match at the ATP Finals in Turin.
The world No. 1 beat his No. 2 Spanish rival in 90 minutes, with a pedestrian semi-final taking on fresh life in the latter stages with furious baseline duels.
The 36-year-old Serb gave away more than a decade and a half to Akcaraz butr denied the youngster a chance at a first-ever year-end final, breaking three times from eight chances.
Djokovic will attempt to life a seventh season wrapup trophy on Sunday when he takes on another young gun in 22-year-old Yannik Sinner, who put out Daniil Medvedev 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-1.
“This was my best match of the tournament without a doubt,” Djokovic said of his win over Alcaraz.
“It came at just the right time. I spent a lot of house on court in my first three matches – all straight sets including a Tuesday loss to Sinner.
“I approached this match with the right mentality, I knew it would be high intensity.
Carlos brings his best to these kind of matches. I had to weather the storm. I served well in the important moments.”
The 24-time Grand Slam champion who won three of the four majors this season was playing his 12th year-end semi-final; he won his 16th match of 2023 over a Top 10 opponent.
The loss this week to Sinner could be a huge motivation for Djokovic in the final at the Pala Alpitour in front of the italian’s home fans.
“Sinner had been playing fantastic tennis, the best of his life,” Djokovic said. “We had a very close match the other night.
“I expect the same thing in the final.
“But I’ve been in this situation before many times. I’m happy with how I’m playing. Hopefully I can deliver my “A” game tomorrow.”