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SHOW OF FORCE — Novak nears record-breaking 7th ATP Finals crown

TIZIANA FABI/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE NOVAK Djokovic celebrates after posting a 6-3, 6-2 win over Carlos Alcaraz in the semifinals of the ATP Finals in Turin, Italy.

TURIN, Italy (AFP) — Novak Djokovic closed in on a record-breaking seventh ATP Finals title on Saturday after sweeping past Carlos Alcaraz 6-3, 6-2 in a dominating semifinal display he hailed as his best of the tournament.

World No. 1 Djokovic will face home favorite Jannik Sinner on Sunday in the final in Turin, as the 36-year-old attempts to cap an age-defying year with yet another major triumph.

“The best match of the tournament for me, without a doubt. It came at the right time really, after spending a lot of hours on the court in the first three matches,” Djokovic said.

“Tonight, from the very beginning, I felt the ball well. I approached the match with the right attitude, the right mentality.”

The Serb came into the Finals at the end of a year which has brought three Grand Slams, taking his total to an all-time best of 24, and a 40th Masters 1000 title.

Now, only Sinner stands between Djokovic and victory, which would take him past his old foe and retired great Roger Federer for season-ending tournament titles.

Sunday’s final promises to be a tough proposition for Djokovic as he lost to Sinner in the group stage and will have to deal with a partisan Italian crowd that, unusually for him, won’t be on his side.

“He’s been playing fantastic tennis, arguably the best tennis of his life. On this stage, against top 10 players,” Djokovic said.

“We played a very tight match the other night, the atmosphere was electric. I don’t expect anything less than what we had in the group stage matchup.”

Djokovic now has the better of his five matches with Wimbledon champion Alcaraz, who at 20 is already a two-time Grand Slam winner and was bidding to become the youngest finalist since Pete Sampras won the title back in 1991.

Saturday’s match didn’t live up to the previous four dramatic clashes, however, as Djokovic put on a show of force which put pretender Alcaraz firmly in his place.

“I feel like I am not on his level on indoor courts,” a dejected Alcaraz told reporters.

“He has more experience than me playing in these tournaments, in these courts. But he’s unbelievable.”


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