Zverev had clearly read up on the scenarios to reach the semi-finals and waved his arms aloft in the air, knowing that even if he went on to lose Marin Cilic would need to beat world No. 1 Djokovic for the German to be eliminated. The world number one, aiming for a sixth ATP Finals title to pull level with Federer, plays Cilic on Friday while Zverev takes on Isner.
Zverev nailed a trademark backhand victor down the line to earn five more match points and converted the first with a powerful first serve that Cilic could only fend into net.
Cilic, seeded fifth in London, dug deep to save match point when trailing 4-5 but the set went to another tie-break, which Zverev dominated, winning 7/1 to seal the match.
The 30-year-old had point for a 4-0 lead and another one for 5-1 but allowed Zverev to claw his way back from a 1-4 deficit to take the set on a tiebreak, sealing it with a backhand pass. "But the tournament isn't over", Zverev said.
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Despite being 37-years-old, Federer and his relentless will to still play on the game is more than most of the current tennis players which still proves to be enough to get past most of the field.
"But at the end of the day it was a pretty good match".
"I'm happy that this is another week like this", said Federer. That's the most important thing. "He is not going to give him 34 unforced errors from the back of the court as well as the serve and he likes playing indoors".
Zverev has always been talked about as one of the brightest talents of his generation and will be keen to make a statement in London after again flattering to deceive at Grand Slam level this season.
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In the second set tie-break Cilic was left to rue a wasted challenge earlier in the set which meant he did not have one left to overturn another bad call.
There have been questions about his mental toughness including previous year in London when a loss to Jack Sock cost him a semi-final berth.
When quizzed where he would rank Djokovic amongst the returners he has played with, Isner said that the Serbian star is the best returner he has ever faced.
Despite his hopes having gone, Isner stuck to his task in the second set but Zverev, still needing the victory to make sure of his semi-final berth, powered to his 56th win of the year.
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