Carlos Alcaraz sets up Novak Djokovic showdown at Nitto ATP Finals

Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic will clash in one semifinal match while Jannik Sinner and Daniil Medvedev face off in the other at the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin, Italy.

Alcaraz, the No. 2 seed, defeated Russian No. 3 Medvedev 6-4, 6-4 on Friday to finish atop the Red Group in round-robin play.

That sets the Spaniard up to face the top-seeded Serbian with a record 24 Grand Slam titles, as Djokovic had finished second in the Green Group.

“It’s one of the most difficult challenges that I’m going to face, facing Novak in the Nitto ATP Finals, where he has won six times,” Alcaraz said. “Novak is Novak. He is the best player in the world right now. He’s lost just six matches this year, he’s unbelievable. I’m going to play my best tennis and enjoy it the same way I did the past few matches. I’m excited to face Novak.”

Alcaraz and Djokovic are knotted 2-2 in their head-to-head series. Alcaraz beat Djokovic in five sets at the Wimbledon final this July and Djokovic got a bit of revenge in the final at Cincinnati.

On Friday, Alcaraz saved both break points he faced and won 31 of 41 first-service points (76 percent) to get past Medvedev. Alcaraz trailed 3-2 in the first set and 4-3 in the second before breaking Medvedev’s serve to nose ahead.

“I think the most important thing that I did today was to stay strong mentally,” Alcaraz said in his on-court interview. “There were a few games on my serve that I was struggling a bit. His return game is amazing and he puts so much pressure on your serve, so I think to stay calm and stay strong mentally in those moments was the key to give myself a chance to win this match.”

Sinner, the fourth seed from Italy, was the only player to go 3-0 in round-robin play. On Saturday he will face Medvedev, who won the 2020 ATP Finals.

In the other Red Group match of the day, German No. 7 seed Alexander Zverev defeated Russian No. 5 seed Andrey Rublev, also by a 6-4, 6-4 scoreline. Zverev finished 2-1 along with Alcaraz and Medvedev, but he had the worst set win-loss record of the trio.

Nitto ATP Finals group standings (match win/loss, set win/loss): Green Group 1. Jannik Sinner (3-0, 6-2) — advanced 2. Novak Djokovic (2-1, 5-4) — advanced 3. Holger Rune (1-2, 4-4) — eliminated 4. Hubert Hurkacz (0-1, 1-2) — alternate, eliminated 5. Stefanos Tsitsipas (0-2, 0-4) — withdrawn

Red Group 1. Carlos Alcaraz (2-1, 5-2) — advanced 2. Daniil Medvedev (2-1, 4-2) — advanced 3. Alexander Zverev (2-1, 4-3) — eliminated 4. Andrey Rublev (0-3, 0-6) — eliminated