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Djokovic vs Zverev Nitto ATP Finals live streaming, preview and tips - Djokovic targets sixth ATP Finals title in round robin rematch with Zverev

Andrew Hendrie in ATP Tour 17 Nov 2018
  • Novak Djokovic vs Alexander Zverev is live from London's O2 Arena at 6.00pm local time/GMT on Sunday
  • Djokovic leads their head-to-head 2-1, including winning earlier this week in the group stage
Novak Djokovic (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic looks to cap a brilliant 2018 resurgence by clinching his sixth Nitto ATP Finals title on Sunday when he takes on third seed Alexander Zverev.

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Yet to drop a set inside the O2 this week, dominant top seed Novak Djokovic goes in search of a sixth season-ending championships title at the Nitto ATP Finals on Sunday against Alexander Zverev, who will be competing in the biggest final of his young career after a turbulent victory against 20-time major champion Roger Federer in Saturday’s semi-finals.

But let’s speak about Djokovic first. At the start of 2018, it didn’t seem possible that Djokovic could return to World No. 1, winning more Grand Slam silverware and generally compete alongside and beat top 10 players. When Djokovic went 6-6 across the first quarter of the season and dropped to No. 22 in the world, those beliefs only generated further steam. But after an encouraging clay season in which he made the French Open quarter-finals, Djokovic has put together an extraordinary run of form, losing just two matches since finishing runner-up to Marin Cilic at Queen’s Club.

He went on to beat Rafael Nadal and Kevin Anderson to win a fourth Wimbledon crown, and although he was stopped by rising star Stefanos Tsitsipas in Canada, Djokovic continued his superb resurgence as he completed his ATP Masters 1000 set in Cincinnati and secured his 14th major title at the U.S. Open, defeating Juan Martin del Potro in the final. Another victory at the Shanghai Rolex Masters propelled Djokovic back to No. 1 in the world for the first time since October 2016, making him the second player in history to go from outside the top 20 to No. 1 in the same season - and after Nadal shut down his season due to his knee injury sustained at the U.S. Open, Djokovic became the only player to fight his way back from outside the top 20 to finish at No. 1 the same year.

Karen Khachanov produced an incredible match to defeat Djokovic in the Rolex Paris Masters final a couple of weeks ago, but the 31-year-old has once again bounced back strongly, advancing to the Nitto ATP Finals title match for his sixth straight appearance - and for the first time, doing so without dropping a set in victories over Alexander Zverev (6-4 6-1), Marin Cilic (7-6(7) 6-2), John Isner (6-4 6-3) and Kevin Anderson (6-2 6-2). Djokovic played his best match of the tournament to subdue the big-serving Anderson in the semi-finals for the loss of just four games, extending his unbeaten run against top 10 players to 15-0 since the start of Wimbledon.

Back to playing some of the best tennis of his career and clearly the undisputed form player in the world at the moment, can Djokovic finish off his incredible back-half of 2018 by winning a first Nitto ATP Finals title since 2015?

Alexander Zverev (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)
Alexander Zverev will have other ideas - but the German will have to play much better than he did in their earlier meeting at this tournament, which Djokovic won for the loss of just five games. However, Zverev was right in that match and even had break points at 4-4 in the opening set, but he failed to take his chances and Djokovic made him pay, winning eight of the last nine games to complete what was ultimately a comprehensive victory. But Zverev can take solace from the fact he was hanging with Djokovic until that pivotal moment, and had he converted, the match could have played out very differently.

Zverev will also take confidence from his outstanding display against Federer in Saturday’s semi-finals, with the German notching up his third win over the Swiss legend and becoming the first man from his country to reach the title match at the ATP Finals since Boris Becker in 1996. The 21-year-old was extremely aggressive and stepped into the court in order to take time away from Federer, and his positive mindset paid dividends as he prevailed 7-5 7-6(5) to make the biggest final of his career - although it was very unfortunate that his triumph was undermined by a heavy chorus of boos by the O2 crowd in his post-match interview, with Federer fans rudely expressing their anger about an incident in the second set tiebreak in which a ballboy dropped a ball and Zverev stopped play in order for the point to be replayed - which is the correct course of action, but usually the umpire is the one who enforces the action.

Zverev felt the need to apologise to the fans, while on-court interviewer Anabel Croft told the crowd that Zverev was right and that they should 'be a little more respectful'. Visibly shaken by the crowd’s reaction, Zverev tried to quickly re-avert his attention to Sunday and the biggest match of his life against the World No. 1.

"Novak right now is the best player in the world. It's very tough to beat him. He's barely lost a match in the last six months. He's playing amazing tennis. You have to play your best game to even have a chance.”

Zverev has done an excellent job of consolidating his spot inside the world’s top five all season after a rocky start to the year, winning his third ATP Masters 1000 title in Madrid and successfully defending titles in Munich and Washington D.C., while he is guaranteed to end 2018 at No. 4 in the world regardless of Sunday’s result.

Zverev famously beat Djokovic in their first meeting in the Rome Masters final last year, but as we know, the Serbian was far from his best in that moment and soon after shut down his season with injury. Djokovic has since won their last two meetings this year in routine fashion: 6-2 6-1 in Shanghai and 6-4 6-1 earlier this week in the group stage. Zverev knows that he has to redline his game and remain aggressive throughout the entire match to have a chance, but the odds of him doing that against the best defender in the world are slim. Djokovic gets that extra ball back and forces Zverev into going for more than he normally would, which in turn causes him to make more errors and before you know it, the match can be out of sight. It would take an enormous effort from Zverev to emerge triumphant on Sunday, and unfortunately I don’t think he has it in him - expect another comfortable Djokovic victory and a sixth season-ending title for the World No. 1.

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Djokovic vs Zverev Nitto ATP Finals live streaming, preview and tips - Djokovic targets sixth ATP Finals title in round robin rematch with Zverev

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic looks to cap a brilliant 2018 resurgence by clinching his sixth Nitto ATP Finals title on Sunday when he takes on third seed Alexander Zverev.

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