LONDON (AFP) - World number one Andy Murray faces a dramatic showdown with Novak Djokovic after staging a superb fightback to defeat Milos Raonic 5-7, 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (11/9) in the semi-finals of the ATP Tour Finals on Saturday (Nov 19).
Murray will face world number two Djokovic in Sunday’s final after surviving a three-hour 39-minute classic that ranked as the longest match in Tour Finals history. Djokovic later thrashed Japan’s Kei Nishikori 6-1, 6-1 in the other semi.
Murray, who saved a match point in the final set tie-break, must win the Tour Finals for the first time to be guaranteed to finish 2016 on top of the world rankings, with Djokovic able to overhaul him if he takes the title for a record-equalling sixth time.
Wimbledon champion Murray seemed to be running low on energy after being pushed to his limits by Raonic just days after he had to endured the previous longest match in the tournament, a victory over Nishikori that took three hours and 20 minutes.
“I played some great points and managed to get the break at the end,” Murray said.
“It was an amazing atmosphere. The longer the match went on the louder the crowd got.
“This is what we play for. Matches like this and arenas like this.
“This is one of hardest matches I’ve played indoors. I didn’t expect to play a long one with someone with a serve like Milos.
“I’m tired. I’ve played so much tennis over the last few months. I’ll give it my best effort, the best of what I have.”
Raonic twice broke Murray when he served for the match in the final set and saved three match points in the decisive tie-break.
But the Canadian fourth seed couldn’t take the one match point that came his way in a thrilling denouement that eventually went Murray’s way to repeat the outcome of their meetings in the Wimbledon and Queen’s finals on the other side of London earlier this year.
Murray’s 23rd successive victory set a new career-best for the 29-year-old but only a 24th would bring a fitting finale to the best year of his life.