• ATP World Tour Finals

Djokovic made to work for win

Ismail Vedat at the O2
November 9, 2013
Novak Djokovic has won eight matches in a row at the O2 © Getty Images

Novak Djokovic stayed true to his words by grinding out another three-set win at the ATP World Tour Finals to keep his unbeaten run going with a victory over Richard Gasquet.

The Serb had already guaranteed himself top spot in the group after final-set wins over Roger Federer and Juan Martin del Potro, and insisted he would not ease off against Gasquet, which was evident in a 7-6(5) 4-6 6-3 triumph for the defending champion.

The Verdict

  • Novak Djokovic would not have wanted to lose ahead of his semi-final tomorrow, and it was the motivation of the Serb to step it up in final sets which saw him win tonight.
  • He could easily have saved energy for his clash against Wawrinka by not going toe-to-toe with Richard Gasquet, but like Rafael Nadal last night he fought for every point and treated the match as if qualification depended on it.
  • Having said that, he made plenty of unforced errors, 45 in total, and although Gasquet failed to punish him for that, Wawrinka tomorrow could if Djokovic makes a similar amount, and that will be something for Nole to work on and eradicate from his game.

Djokovic heads into his semi-final tie against Stanislas Wawrinka on a 20 match-win streak, and is unbeaten in his last eight matches at the O2 as a result of maintaining his 100% record at this year's tournament.

The Australian Open champion quickly moved into a 2-0 lead to stamp his authority on the match, but Gasquet stuck with the Serb throughout the set by winning his service games to let his opponent know he was ready to pounce.

And when the opportunity came for Djokovic to serve for the opening set, Gasquet's persistence paid off as Djokovic failed to execute a volley at the net. A 6-5 lead for Gasquet came at the end of a run of three consecutive games, but Djokovic forced a tiebreak by holding serve to stay in the set.

Like he did in his wins over Federer and Del Potro, Djokovic found another level at a crucial time in the match, and the tiebreak was where he made his move to go 5-2 in front, before retaining his lead to take it 7-5.

The signs were there that Gasquet was threatening, and he broke Djokovic to go 3-1 in front in the second set. The roles reversed as it was Djokovic keeping up on serve to pressurise Gasquet, but the Frenchman did not buckle, and after 45 minutes he claimed a well-deserved second set.

Once again in a final set, Djokovic turned the tables on Gasquet to storm into a 3-0 advantage. He then made it four games from five at 4-1, and went on to end the evening with a clinical service game.

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