Roger Federer booked his spot in the ATP World Tour Finals semi-final on Thursday, beating Novak Djokovic in a winner-take-all meeting. Set scores were 6-4, 6-3.
Federer dominated with his serve and barely set a foot wrong all evening. Djokovic, one of the best return men in the sport, never came close to breaking back. The loss means the Serb won't finish the year as World No. 1, with Rafael Nadal taking that spot.
Both had lost to Dominic Thiem, making Thursday's clash a must-win contest.
In the other group, Stefanos Tsitsipas leads the way with two wins, while Nadal and Alexander Zverev have one win each. Daniil Medvedev is winless and will face Zverev on Friday, while Tsitsipas takes on Nadal.
Djokovic started things off with a nervy hold, but after a dominant serve game from Federer, the Serbian started to show the first cracks.
Back-to-back double faults gave Federer the opening he needed, and he converted for the early break. Per Metro's George Bellshaw, it was an odd start to the contest:
The Swiss star would barely be troubled the rest of the set, losing just three total points on serve. Djokovic had no answer for Federer's dominant serve, and the six-time Finals champion wasn't afraid to take risks, hitting an ace on second serve at one point.
He also came to play in the rallies, per tennis writer Jose Morgado:
He had another look for a break in the seventh game and nearly sealed the set in the ninth, but a poorly placed drop shot allowed Djokovic to pull himself back into the game. He continued to fall well short on Federer's serve, however, and a big ace was a fitting end to the set.
It was a clinical display from the 38-year-old veteran:
He nearly kicked off the second set with another break, but Djokovic dealt with two break chances for a massive hold.
Federer continued to have the upper hand, and in the fifth game of the second set, he quickly built a 40-0 lead. Djokovic saved the first break chance but committed an error on the second, handing all the momentum to his opponent.
Christopher Clarey of the New York Times loved his aggression:
With the key break under his belt, Federer went back to serving with precision, not giving his opponent any inroads. Djokovic never came close to breaking back, and would give up another break of serve in the final game, capping off a dominant outing for Federer.
The Swiss star continues to defy Father Time, and after his stumble against Thiem, displayed some of the best tennis he has played all year. In this type of form, he has to be considered the favourite for the title.