Novak Djokovic defeats Zverev to reach ATP finals last four
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Former Nitto ATP Finals champion Alexander Zverev has snubbed the former host city of London in favour of Turin. The world No 3 said he preferred the tournament’s new home in Italy, after it was staged in London’s O2 Arena for over a decade, where he won his own year-end championships title in 2018.
Zverev booked his place in the semi-finals of this year’s ATP Finals with a win over Hubert Hurkacz on Thursday (November 18).
The world No 3 was a set up on home hope Matteo Berrettini in Sunday’s (November 14) round-robin match when the Italian was forced to retire after picking up an injury, and later withdrew from the tournament.
He narrowly lost to defending champion Daniil Medvedev in his second group match on Tuesday (November 16), with the Russian taking it 9-7 in the final set tiebreak, but managed to get out of the Red Group with his victory over the Pole.
Following his victory, the 2018 champion admitted he preferred the tournament’s new home of Turin to London, where the ATP Finals was staged from 2009 until its final year in 2020.
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“It is difficult to compare the Finals in Turin with those in London. Especially since London is one of the largest cities in Europe and is obviously much bigger than Turin,” Zverev told reporters, after booking his place in the semi-finals.
While the German admired London’s iconic, 20,000-strong O2 Arena, he said there were three things in particular that made him prefer the new ATP Finals home in Turin.
“What changes is the atmosphere we have here, with the Italian fans.
“The organizers are doing their best: our changing rooms are much better here in Turin than in London. The food is fantastic, of course, because we are in Italy.”
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As well as preferring the players’ locker rooms and the cuisine, Zverev also noted that the Italian fans were much louder and more involved while watching the matches.
He added: “The two events are extraordinary, a plus for London is the O2 Arena itself, a historic and gigantic facility.
“I love Italy and what makes this event special is the atmosphere of the Italian fans. They are noisier and more passionate about sports.”
The 24-year-old will next play Novak Djokovic in Saturday’s (November 20) semi-final.
Zverev ended the world No 1’s hopes of finally winning a gold medal at the Olympics this summer, when he came from a set-and-a-break down to defeat him in the semi-final.
The pair met again in the US Open semi-final, with Djokovic getting revenge over his Tokyo conqueror.
The world No 3 also won his only ATP Finals title back in 2018 by defeating the Serb 6-4 6-3 in the final.
Speaking of his upcoming last-four clash with Djokovic, the German said: “Novak and I have played against in all the big events on hard-courts this year. At the Australian Open, the Olympics and the US Open. Now we will play here.
“All the matches we have played against each other this year have been tight. You need to be at your best because few points could decide the match. I expect it here too. Let’s hope it’s another good match. It will be completely different than the one against Hurkacz. There will be longer exchanges, we will both run more. We will suffer even more.”
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