Novak Djokovic earned himself a shot at a third consecutive World Tour Finals title after battling past Kei Nishikori in three sets in Saturday’s first semi-final at the O2 Arena.
After a litany of one-sided matches in the round robin stage, Djokovic looked set to continue the theme by easing through the first set but Nishikori stunned the world No.1 by taking the second to force a decider.
It was just the third time at these Tour Finals that the O2 Arena had seen a third set, and Djokovic regained his composure to eventually ease through it for a 6-1 3-6 6-0 win in one hour and 27 minutes.
“Honestly, today I found it a little bit difficult mentally to stay concentrated throughout the whole match,” Djokovic said in his press conference. “After emotional three matches I had, especially yesterday when I achieved the goal to finish as No.1 of the world, knowing that, I felt a little bit flat emotionally. I needed a little bit more time to kind of give myself a boost.
“I was fortunate because in the beginning of the third set, he had break points. If he broke me, the match could have gone either way. I managed to find that little bit of strength and get a win today.
“Tomorrow is the last match of the season. It’s one of the biggest tournaments in the world, aside of the grand slams. This is already the biggest possible motivation. I will try to give everything I have.”