Alexander Zverev kept his tournament hopes alive with a 6-3 4-6 6-3 victory over Diego Schwartzman on Wednesday at the season-ending ATP Finals.
The result means that Daniil Medvedev can advance to the semi-finals if he beats Novak Djokovic later in the day. The world No 1 would advance with a match to spare, if he dispatches Medvedev in straight sets.
Zverev came into the encounter with Schwartzman off the back of what he had described as one of his worst matches of the season on Monday, a straight-sets loss to Medvedev.
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He quickly looked to put things right and went 6-3 3-1 up, before Schwartzman battled back and found his groove to take the second set.
However, Zverev channelled his frustration and moved through the gears again in the final set. A positive run, which featured him getting 89 per cent of first serves in, helped him to move towards the finish line.
He then secured five of the last six games to seal a victory that ensured he stayed in contention for the semi-finals.
“It was much better than on Monday. Diego’s a very difficult player and he deserves to be here, that’s why there are no easy matches,” Zverev said during his on-court interview.
“I’m happy to get the win, I’m happy to give myself a chance to go into the semi-finals. I’m excited for Friday, it’s going to be the most difficult match you can have here, playing Novak.
“We have met twice here already, so I’m looking forward to it.”
Zverev also shared that he hadn’t let himself look too far ahead and ponder how to combat the world No 1 before this encounter.
“I haven’t [thought about that yet]. First, I had to try and beat Diego and that was my main focus.
“I said from the beginning of the week that I’m going to improve with every match, because after the small injury I had in Paris, I needed to recover a little bit and get back into the rhythm. Hopefully, I can play even better on Friday.
“Right now, it’s just a regular tournament for me, I need to win every match otherwise I’m out. I’m going to go in with that mindset, I had that mindset today and I did my job.”
Medvedev and Djokovic will take to court at 8pm for the second singles match of the day in Group Tokyo 1970.
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