Serbia s Novak Djokovic celebrates winning a game against Russia s Andrey Rublev during their first round singles match of the ATP Finals at the Pala Alpitour venue in Turin on November 17, 2021. (Photo: AFP)
Third-ranked Alexander Zverev joined No. 1 Novak Djokovic and No. 2 Daniil Medvedev in the last four at the season-ending event for the top eight players by beating Hubert Hurkacz 6-2, 6-4 on Thursday.
Having qualified second in his group behind Medvedev, Zverev's semifinal opponent will be Djokovic, who won the other group.
Medvedev's semifinal opponent will be determined on Friday when Andrey Rublev meets Casper Ruud on the final day of round-robin play.
Zverev lost to Djokovic at the Australian Open and U.S. Open this year but beat the Serb at the Tokyo Olympics en route to the gold medal.
``We played basically every single big event this year on hard court against each other,'' Zverev said. ``So it's only right that we play each other here as well. ... It's always close when we play each other, so I'm looking forward to hopefully another tough one.''
Zverev, the 2018 champion at the finals, didn't face a single break point against Hurkacz, a first-time qualifier.
Both players served 11 aces amid quick conditions inside the Pala Alpitour.
``There is going to be a lot more long rallies (against Djokovic),'' Zverev said. ``I think we are going to run a lot more. I think we are going to suffer, in a way, a lot more, as well.
``Every single match that we played we both needed to be at our best. One or two points decided the matches. I expect no different here.''
Zverev's victory meant that Medvedev's final group match later against Jannik Sinner _ an alternate who replaced the injured Matteo Berrettini _ was largely meaningless. Still, Medvedev won 6-0, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (8) _ saving two match points in the third-set tiebreaker.