World no 1 Novak Djokovic battles back to defeat Juan Martin del Potro and reach the ATP Tour Finals' London title match for the first time.
Novak Djokovic looks to finalise things in London
LONDON // Novak Djokovic cut giant Argentine Juan Martin del Potro down to size as the world No 1 battled into the final of the ATP Tour Finals with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory on Sunday night.
Djokovic came from a set and a break down to topple the 6ft 6ins former US Open champion in a gruelling semi-final clash lasting two hours and 11 minutes at London's O2 Arena.
After another impressive season, which will end with Djokovic the world's top-ranked player for the second successive year, the Serb now has a chance to cap his campaign by taking the title at the season-ending event for the second time.
Djokovic had won six of his previous eight meetings with Del Potro, but the reigning Australian Open champion had to draw on all his remarkable reserves of energy and determination before finally seeing off the big-hitting sixth seed.
"He was the better player in the first set but I managed to turn it around," Djokovic said.
"I just told myself to stay out there fighting. It's a step forward because it's my first final in London."
Few players can out-hit Djokovic in baseline rallies, but Del Potro has the size and power to overwhelm anyone with his booming groundstrokes and he pressured the Serb into a pair of hurried errors to break for a 5-4 lead.
Djokovic had no answer as Del Potro easily held serve to take the opening set and it needed the Serb's supreme battling qualities to stave off three break points in the first game of the second set.
The Argentine would not be denied, however. He was hitting with such a lethal combination of poise and power that even Djokovic was unable to stop him breaking for a 2-1 advantage. But Djokovic had no intention of surrendering and, aided by the suddenly rash of Del Potro errors, he broke at the fourth attempt in the next game.
Another break for the Serb opened up a 5-3 lead and he held his nerve to serve out the set.
The momentum was with Djokovic now and he raced through the final set, shattering del Potro with breaks in the third and seventh games.
Follow us @SprtNationalUAE