Djokovic ease past Alcaraz, to face Sinner in ATP final showdown

Novak Djokovic is one win away from a record seventh ATP Finals title after easing past Carlos Alcaraz in straight sets to secure a Sunday showdown with the unbeaten Jannik Sinner in Turin.

World No 1 Djokovic saw off world No 2 Alcaraz 6-3 6-2 in 88 minutes to record a second straight victory over the Spaniard, having also overcome his rival in the final of August’s Cincinnati Masters.

Alcaraz, 20, failed to convert any of the four break points he engineered as he missed out on becoming the youngest finalist in the season-ending tournament since Pete Sampras in 1991.

Djokovic won the ATP Finals in 2022 to add to previous triumphs at this event in 2008, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 and he is currently level on six titles with Roger Federer.

The Serb will play the week’s form player in Sinner with the home favourite’s 4-0 record including a three-set win over Djokovic in the round-robin phase, which was his first success in four meetings with the 24-time Grand Slam champion.

Sinner, 22, became the first Italian to reach the title match at the ATP Finals following a 6-3 6-7 (4-7) 6-1 victory over 2020 champion Daniil Medvedev in Saturday’s first semi-final.

Medvedev, who was looking to reach his 10th final of the season, had the first opportunity to secure a break at 1-1 in the opening set, but Sinner stood firm, secured a decisive break of his own in the next game before holding serve for the rest of the set.

The Russian levelled up the match by winning a second-set tiebreak, only for Sinner to breeze through the final set and seal victory with a backhand winner which secured his third victory in a row against Medvedev, after losing their first six meetings.

The in-form Sinner has now won his last six matches against players ranked in the world’s top five, with those three successes against Medvedev backed up by one each against Djokovic, Alcaraz and Andrey Rublev.

Sinner lost to Djokovic at the 2021 Monte Carlo Masters before being knocked out by him at Wimbledon two years in a row, in the quarter-final stage in 2022 and then in the semi-finals in 2023.

However, the Italian snapped that losing run earlier this week with a 7-5 6-7 (5-7) 7-6 (7-2) win.

UNI Agric Markurdi
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