Djokovic defeated Anderson and reached the final of the tournament

AFP | Alexander Zverev serves against Roger Federer in their last-four match at the ATP Finals in London

AFP | Alexander Zverev serves against Roger Federer in their last-four match at the ATP Finals in London

Zverev ended Roger Federer's hopes of clinching his 100th singles title this season with a thrilling 7-5, 7-6 (5) over the Swiss in London on Saturday afternoon.

Federer was leading the second-set tiebreaker 4-3 and in the ascendancy of a rally on a Zverev service point when a ball boy at the back of the court dropped a ball. "The reason I'm with him is to compete and win the biggest tournaments in the world", Zverev said at the time. You have to play your best game to even have a chance.

"I'm a little bit disappointed there because I believe I was close".

Zverev, the first German to reach the final of the prestigious season-ender since Boris Becker in 1996, said the boos from the Fed-Heads in the crowd had shaken him up.

Cilic, who has failed to advance from the round robin stage in four appearances, was unable to maintain his level of performance in the second set and allowed Djokovic to break twice. He continues to own the O2 Arena in London.

"I apologised to Roger at the net and he said 'it's okay it's in the rules'". "I was like, 'Buddy, shut up". It's hard to explain how much I loved you and how instrumental you were in making me who I am today. Congratulations on a great match and a great tournament so far.

"But overall it was a good tournament".

Federer was not about to be ushered off without a fight though and a rapier-like backhand pass gave him the early break in the second set, only for Zverev to hit back immediately.

The breaker had more of those crushing serves by both men as none of them really had any realistic chance to get a mini-break in the first six points.

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Federer, who was already being pencilled in for a Sunday showdown with great rival Novak Djokovic, said he had asked the ball boy whether or not he had dropped the ball.

He saved the first, but Zverev confidently put away a backhand drive volley to set up a shot at the biggest title of his career and leave Federer waiting until next season for his 100th title.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion was out of the blocks in sensational style this season, defending his Australian Open title and at the age of 36 becoming the oldest world number one in the 45-year history of the ATP rankings. "There's many positives. So I'm excited for next season". But victory at the tour's flagship event would exceed those achievements.

Zverev is the youngest player at 21 to reach the semifinals since 2009 and the first from Germany since 2003.

But in the next three sets he played, Nishikori won just two games, trounced 6-0 6-1 by Anderson on Tuesday before Thiem won yesterday's opener 6-1. But I also understand from a crowd's perspective that it all looked quite odd to happen at that point'.

"You were a stud Florida Gator football player, me a Georgia Bulldog tennis player". "But I don't think he was close to his best".

The German, victor of more matches than any other player on Tour this year, had his opponent in trouble when Federer served at 3-4 but the Swiss reeled off four points to stay on level terms in the set.

"It's remarkable what he's done since Wimbledon", Anderson said.

"I must tell you I'm very proud that at 37 I'm still so competitive and so happy playing tennis", he added.

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