Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic will meet in Sunday’s final which will decide the year-end ATP Rankings after their semifinals victories at London’s O2 Arena on Saturday.
Current world No. 1 Murray fought off a match point and outlasted Milos Raonic of Canada in one of the season’s finest matches. He prevailed 5-7, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (9) in three hours and 38 minutes, the longest three-set match at the season finale since match times were recorded in 1991.
The 29-year-old Murray will play the title match for the first time.
It was Murray’s second lengthy match in four days, breaking the tournament record of three hours and 20 minutes he took to beat Japan’s Kei Nishikori in the round-robin stage on Wednesday.
“I didn’t expect to play a long one with someone with a serve like Milos,” said Murray.
“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.”
Djokovic, the four-time defending champion and five-time winner, breezed past Japan’s Kei Nishikorei 6-1, 6-1 in just 66 minutes in a later match.
Djokovic needs to win Sunday’s title to become year-end No. 1 for the third consecutive season and fifth time overall while Murray will secure the No. 1 spot with a victory.
It will be the 35th encounter between Djokovic and Murray, with the world No. 2 owning a 24-10 advantage and be just their second meeting at the ATP World Tour Finals, following a three-set win for the Serbian in the 2012 round robin stage.
Djokovic has taken three of their four meetings this year, in the finals of the Australian Open, Roland Garros and ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event in Madrid. Murray notched a straight-set win in the Rome title match.
On the battle for number one against Murray, Djokovic said, “There’s two of us on the court so let’s try to be able to enjoy the occasion.
“This has never happened in the history of tennis. I’m privileged to be part of the history. This is one of the biggest matches we will ever play against each other.”