Who will advance on semifinal Saturday in London?
Roger Federer vs. Alexander Zverev
Federer and Zverev have each improved through the week in London. Federer looked lost in his opening-match defeat to Kei Nishikori, while Zverev looked despondent in his loss to Novak Djokovic. By Thursday and Friday, though, both men had found a more confidently aggressive form. Zverev, in particular, was unusually upbeat in his semifinal-clinching win over John Isner on Friday. More importantly, he served unusually well, firing 18 aces in two sets. Zverev as a servebot is an entirely different, and scarier, proposition than the one his opponents have seen over the second half of this season.
Can Zverev serve that well, or approximately that well, on Saturday, when faced with a more consistent returner? Federer is 3-2 against Zverev, and he won their last meeting, at this event 12 months ago. He’s also a six-time champion in London, and he’ll be coming off a day of rest. It’s possible that Zverev is building to a breakthrough this week, and that he will come out and overpower Federer. But all else being equal, it’s more likely that Federer will win.
Novak Djokovic vs. Kevin Anderson
The numbers say this will be one-way traffic, with Djokovic doing the driving. He’s 7-1 against Anderson, hasn’t lost to him since 2008, beat him easily in the Wimbledon final, and he beat him again in Shanghai this fall. But Anderson likes the great indoors: He’s won two indoor events this year, and he played two excellent matches to start this week, against Dominic Thiem and Kei Nishikori. He could power his way through a set on Saturday as well, but probably not two. Whether it’s Federer or Zverev waiting in the final, Djokovic is going to want to meet him, and beat him, to cap his meteoric 2018 comeback in proper season-ending style.
This Week on Tennis Channel:
ATP Finals (Sun – Sun 11.11 – 11.18) – Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and the world’s best collide in the season Finale. Live coverage begins on Tennis Channel Sunday at 7:00am EST.