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Tokyo Olympics: Alexander Zverev beats Novak Djokovic to reach final


Dates: 23 July-8 August Time in Tokyo: BST +8
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button and online; Listen on BBC Radio 5 Live, Sports Extra and Sounds; live text and video clips on BBC Sport website and app.

Novak Djokovic’s hopes of winning a ‘Golden Slam’ are over after he lost to Alexander Zverev in the Olympic tennis semi-finals.

Serb Djokovic, the world number one, was bidding to become the first man to win all four Grand Slam titles and an Olympic gold medal in the same year.

But German Zverev, 24, came from a set down to win 1-6 6-3 6-1 at the Ariake Tennis Park in Tokyo.

The fourth seed will meet Russian Karen Khachanov in Sunday’s final.

World number 25 and 12th seed Khachanov beat Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta 6-3 6-3 earlier on Friday.

“I feel terrible,” said Djokovic, who refused to blame the incredibly humid conditions.

“It’s just sport. He played better. You’ve got to give him credit for turning the match around. He served extremely well. I was not getting too many looks at the second serve.

“My serve just drastically dropped. I didn’t get any free points from 3-2 up in the second. My game fell apart.”

Djokovic, 34, was later knocked out of the mixed doubles semi-finals alongside compatriot Nina Stojanovic, following a 7-6 7-5 defeat to Russian pair Aslan Karatsev and Elena Vesnina.

It will be an all-Russian final as Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Andrey Rublev defeated Australians Ashleigh Barty and John Peers in their semi-final.

Djokovic, who will play for a bronze medal in both events, faces Carreno Busta in the singles on Saturday. His previous best at the Olympics is bronze at Beijing 2008.

In March Djokovic set the all-time record for weeks at number one and this month tied Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for a record 20 Grand Slam titles with his sixth Wimbledon crown.

He also won the Australian and French Open this year.

Steffi Graf is the only player to win all four Grand Slams and the Olympic title in the same year, in 1988.

Asked about embracing Djokovic at the net after his victory, Zverev replied: “I told him that he’s the greatest of all time, and he will be.

“I know that he was chasing history, but in these kind of moments me and Novak are very close.

“I feel sorry for Novak, but he’s won 20 Grand Slams, 550 Masters series or whatever. You can’t have everything.”

Djokovic did not lose a set in his first four games in Tokyo and breezed through the opening set of the semi-final in 37 minutes before going a break up in the second.

But Zverev won 10 games in a row to win the second set and take a commanding lead in the third, with Djokovic looking powerless to prevent the world number five wrapping it up with three breaks in the decider.

Zverev upset Djokovic to win the ATP Finals in London in 2018 and has only reached one Grand Slam final, losing to Dominic Thiem at last year’s US Open.

“It’s an amazing feeling knowing that you’re going to bring a medal back home,” said Zverev.

“It seemed it was impossible to beat him at this event, so I’m very happy right now, but yet there’s still one match to go.”

The first tennis gold medal went to Wimbledon champions Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic in the men’s doubles after they beat fellow Croats Marin Cilic and Ivan Dodig.

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Article courtesy of BBC Sport
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