Djokovic expects tough battle against Thiem in semifinals

Novak Djokovic defeated Alexander Zverev in a winner-take-all battle to qualify for his ninth semifinal at the Nitto ATP Finals.

After dispatching of Zverev, the World No.1 will face the in-form Dominic Thiem for a spot in the final. The Serbian lost to Thiem in the round-robin stage of the event last year.

“I lost to him last year in the group stage. It was a thriller, 7-6 in the third set,” Djokovic said his match. “I have lots of respect for Dominic, his game, his work ethic. Nico Massu, all his team, they’re all very nice people. They’re very dedicated and humble.

He’s a Grand Slam champion, so obviously that’s a huge boost for him, getting that kind of pressure and expectation off his back, so I’m sure that allows him to swing freely on the court and play better than he did before.”

Djokovic leads Thiem 7-4 in career meetings, with their past five matches going to either a tiebreak or a deciding set.

“It's the semi-finals, so I’m expecting a tough battle, no question about it,” Djokovic added. “He’s in very good form, he loves to play on this surface. Obviously he played in the final last year. He beat Roger Federer and myself last year in The O2...

“Every time that we got to play, at least in the past three or four matches, those were some marathon thrilling encounters… If I manage to play as well as I did today and show up with a high quality of tennis, I think I have a good chance to win. I’m just hoping I can start off the match as well as I did today.”

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