Djokovic downs Delpo to book semi spot
Originally published on: 07/11/13 00:00
The world No.2 claimed his 19th consecutive match win with a 6-3 3-6 6-3 victory at London’s O2 Arena. Del Potro, who beat Richard Gasquet in his opener, will face Roger Federer on Saturday in a straight shootout for a semi-final place.
Djokovic, who blew hot and cold during his three-set victory over Federer on Tuesday, won 80% of points on his first serve as he took the opening set, breaking in the sixth game with some aggressive play from the baseline.
Del Potro hit back in the second set, a fortuitous net cord handing him the break for a 4-2 lead as he held firm to force a decider. The 25-year-old had two break points early in the third set, but was left to rue a missed opportunity as Djokovic converted his only break point in the final set to secure victory in an hour and 54 minutes.
"I qualified for the semi-finals which is very positive news, but I still want to try to win the last match of the group," said Djokovic, who will play Gasquet in his final round-robin clash. "I'm just very glad to be able to play my best when it's needed."
Federer, meanwhile, kept his hopes of a semi-final spot alive with a 6-4 6-3 victory over Gasquet, ending the Frenchman’s chances of qualifying for the last four.
"These are the kind of matches I need right now," Federer said. "Straight sets against a good player. It clearly comes at the right time right now.
Federer beat Del Potro in Paris after falling to the Argentine for a second consecutive year in the final of the Swiss Indoors in Basel last month.
"I think the win in Paris was big for me, because he did beat me three times indoors straight," Federer said. "I'm glad I got one back in Paris because I knew we could be again in the same group, we could be playing each other. I think that win for me in Paris psychologically was very important. I truly believe my confidence is higher and that's what I need to beat the best."
Djokovic, who has already beaten both Federer and Del Potro in three sets this week, refused to pick a winner.
"Roger is definitely playing better than he was throughout the whole year," he said. "He loves these conditions. Today he had a great performance against Gasquet. But on the other hand, Del Potro has a big serve. I can expect a three-set battle. I can't pick the winner."