Tue | Dec 18, 2018

Zverev, Djokovic for ATP Finals showdown

Published:Sunday | November 18, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Alexander Zverev of Germany plays a return to Roger Federer of Switzerland in their ATP World Tour Finals singles tennis match at the O2 Arena in London, yesterday.

LONDON (AP):

After pulling off one of the biggest wins of his career, Alexander Zverev was left apologising for an unforced error he didn't make.

Zverev denied Roger Federer a shot at a 100th career title by beating the Swiss great 7-5, 7-6 (5) at the ATP Finals yesterday to advance to the championship match against Novak Djokovic.

Federer was leading the second-set tiebreaker 4-3 and in the ascendancy of a rally on a Zverev service point when a ball boy at the back of the court dropped a ball. Zverev immediately signalled for the point to be stopped, and the umpire ordered the point to be replayed.

Zverev served an ace before going on to close out the match moments later.

"I want to apologise for the situation in the tiebreaker," said Zverev, who was booed by some of the crowd during his on-court interview. "The ball boy dropped the ball, so it's in the rules that we have to replay the point.

"I'm a little bit upset about the whole situation because this is not how I wanted it to end."

Zverev is the youngest player at 21 to reach the final since 2009 and the first from Germany since 1996. He will face five-time champion Djokovic, who defeated Kevin Anderson 6-2, 6-2 to extend his semifinal win-loss record at the tournament to 7-1.

Federer, 37, was seeking a record-extending seventh title but was unable to cope with the pressure created by Zverev's power and precision at the O2 Arena.

"He (Zverev) apologised to me at the net," Federer said. "I was like, 'Buddy, shut up. You don't need to apologise to me here. Congratulations on a great match and a great tournament so far. All the best for the finals.' And you move on."