Novak Djokovic edged out Canadian fourth seed Milos Raonic 7-6 (6), 7-6 (5) at London’s O2 Arena to enter the semi-finals of the ATP World Tour Finals. In another Ivan Lendl Group match, Dominic Thiem defeated Frenchman Gael Monfils 6-3, 1-6, 6-4.
It was Djokovic’s second win in the season-ending tournament and will reclaim the world No 1 ranking from Andy Murray if he goes on to take the title.
In what was a pulsating encounter between the Serbian world No 2 and big-serving Raonic. Djokovic, the four-time defending champion, saved three break points in the opening set and clinched the tie-break when his opponent double-faulted.
The Canadian fell back early in the second set, but recovered by breaking Djokovic twice as the Serb began to make errors in the match that lasted two hours and 14 minutes. Raonic, who has lost all seven previous meetings with Djokovic, had a chance to level, before the Serbian ace came out successful in the second close tie-break.
"It really could have gone either way. I was down very early in both tie-breaks tonight. But I just managed to stay committed and put pressure on his second serves," Djokovic told a post-match conference.
Earlier on Day 3,eighth-seeded Austrian Thiem, who lost to Djokovic on Sunday, bounced back to beat Monfils.
"It was a tough one," said Monfils, who is still recovering from a rib injury that forced him out of the Paris Masters last month. "I think I didn't play a great match, but I gave everything I had," the Frenchman added.
Monfils said he could pull out of his final group match against Djokovic due to the injury.