Murray edges Raonic; Djokovic thrashes Nishikori to reach ATP final
LONDON — Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic set up a Sunday shootout for both the ATP finals title and the year-end No. 1 ranking.
The world’s top two players had contrasting wins in the semifinals at O2 Arena on Saturday, with Murray surviving a match point to beat Milos Raonic 5-7, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (9) in 3 hours, 38 minutes, the longest ever three-setter in the ATP finals.
Djokovic needed just 66 minutes to dispatch Kei Nishikori 6-1, 6-1.
Murray arrived at the tournament simply needing to do better than Djokovic to finish the year at No. 1, a position he has held since winning the Paris Masters two weeks ago.
Now, that means winning the final.
“I’m tired,” Murray said. “I’ve played so much tennis the last few months. I’ll just give my best effort tomorrow. It’s going to be tough, obviously, but I’ll give my best shot.”
After squandering chances while serving for the match twice in the final set, Murray converted on his fourth match point during the tiebreaker to finally come through.
“It was unbelievably tough,” Murray said. “I had to fight very, very hard. Being broken twice serving for the match was frustrating. It was one of the harder matches I’ve played indoors. They are never this long.”
Murray had won all six of his meetings with Raonic this year, including a straight-sets victory in the Wimbledon final.
Djokovic broke Nishikori in the Japanese player’s first service game and never looked back. Nishikori held his serve only once all match.