ATP World Tour Finals 2013: Novak Djokovic chases Rafael Nadal all the way with victory over Juan Martin del Potro

Serb follows Spaniard into last four at the O2 Arena

The O2

The chase for the year-end world No 1 ranking may be over but Novak Djokovic continues to snap at Rafael Nadal’s heels. Twenty-four hours after Nadal became the first player to secure his place in the last four here at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, Djokovic followed in his rival’s footsteps by beating Juan Martin del Potro 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.

With Roger Federer also taking a step towards qualification for the semi-finals by beating Richard Gasquet 6-4, 6-3, these end-of-year championships could be heading for a fitting finale. Ever since losing to Nadal in the US Open final two months ago Djokovic has been relentless in his pursuit of the Spaniard, who only ensured that he would end the year on top of the world rankings with his second win here on Wednesday.

This was Djokovic’s 19th successive victory since that defeat in New York. He has won three tournaments in that run and is going all out to defend his title here and go on to win the Davis Cup for Serbia in Prague next weekend.

Del Potro has been in similarly outstanding form, winning 16 of his 18 matches since the US Open, and the 25-year-old Argentine pushed Djokovic hard with his second-set fightback. However, he has now lost seven of his last eight meetings with the world No 2, who made his decisive move in the final set when he broke to love in the sixth game after his opponent made two successive forehand errors. Having lost his way in the second set, Djokovic was a model of consistency in the decider.

Del Potro can still qualify for the semi-finals if he beats Federer in a showdown on Saturday. Federer bounced back from his defeat by Djokovic to beat Gasquet with something to spare, keeping alive his hopes of winning this title for the seventh time.

After the match Federer was asked for his views on the sport’s drug-testing procedures, Djokovic having said earlier in the week that he had lost faith in the system after the 12-month suspension handed to Viktor Troicki, his friend and fellow Serb, for missing a blood test. Troicki had claimed that a doping officer told him he could return for a test the following day because he was feeling unwell. The former world No 12, whose urine test the same day was negative, returned 24 hours later for a blood test, which was negative.

Djokovic was critical of the doctor, but Federer, said: “Overall I trust the system. I think they’re all very professional. When you are requested for a sample, you have to give the sample. It doesn’t matter how bad you feel. I’m sorry. The test the next day is not a test any more, because of what could have happened overnight.”

 

 

Get Adobe Flash player
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
Johnny Handle, Northumberland, Ted Relph, President of Lakeland Dialect Society, and Sid Calderbank, Lancashire, founder of the National Dialect Day
newsMeet the enthusiasts determined to stop them dying out
News
The data shows that the number of “unlawfully” large infant classes has doubled in the last 12 months alone
i100Mike Stuchbery, a teacher in Great Yarmouth, said he received abuse
Arts and Entertainment
The starship in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
filmsThe first glimpse of JJ Abrams' new film has been released online
Sport
Rio Ferdinand returns for QPR
sportRio Ferdinand returns from his three-game suspension today
News
The Speaker of the House will takes his turn as guest editor of the Today programme
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
St Peter’s Seminary in Cardross. Argyll, has remained derelict for more than 25 years
arts + ents
News
people

Watch the spoof Thanksgiving segment filmed for Live!
Sport
Billy Twelvetrees will start for England against Australia tomorrow with Owen Farrell dropping to the bench
rugbyEngland need a victory against Australia today
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of The Guest Cat – expect to see it everywhere
books
Sport
Tyson Fury poses outside the Imperial War Museum in south London ahead of his fight against Dereck Chisora
boxingAll British heavyweight clash gets underway on Saturday night
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game