Novak Djokovic v Juan Martin Del Potro as it happened

Live text commentary as Novak Djokovic beats Juan Martin Del Potro to clinch his place in the World Tour Finals last four.

7 November 2013 Last updated at 22:24

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As it happened

  1. 2218: 

    Djokovic remained courtside for a while to sign all sorts of paraphernalia, even a few Argentine football shirts. Cheeky. But both players have now departed the stage which means it's time to wave goodbye. There will be more live texting on Friday for the final round of Group A matches. You may have heard of the participants: Rafael Nadal, David Ferrer, Stanislas Wawrinka, Tomas Berdych... Until tomorrow.

  2.   
    Piers Newbery, BBC Sport at the 02 in London

    "Relief all around in the media room at that result, not because of any bias, I assure you, but because the maths was a lot more complicated with a Del Potro win. It also leaves a mouth-watering showdown between Del Potro and Federer on Saturday for the second semi-final place in Group B. The top two in the world are through, and on Friday we'll see which of Berdych and Wawrinka joins them."

  3. 2214: 

    "With his serve it's definitely a big advantage if I can get a break advantage and close it out," says Djokovic. "I'm very glad I could win this match."

    The defending champion is then asked how he will spend his day off. "We are staying close to the London Eye. There's a lot to see in London," he says. "I love the parks, I love the nature, I enjoy it."

  4. 2210: 

    Djokovic scribbles his name on the camera lens while Del Potro is left to contemplate a shoot-out against Roger Federer.

  5.  
    GAME, SET AND MATCH- Djokovic 6-3 3-6 6-3 Del Potro*

    Djokovic has proved that he is as resilient as ever and though far from his best in this match, he extends his winning run to 19 matches with a classy winner down the line.

  6.  
    *Djokovic 6-3 3-6 5-3 Del Potro

    Whoops and whistles from the supporters as Del Potro, targeting the Djokovic backhand with a series of thundering blows which eventually forces the Serb to wilt, goes 40-15 up. The Serb nicks one point but can do little else to prevent the Argentine from ratcheting another game.

  7.  
    Djokovic 6-3 3-6 5-2 Del Potro*

    A nerveless hold to 15 from Djokovic, who wins his third game on the trot to inch tantalisingly close to victory and a place in the semi-finals.

  8.  
    DJOKOVIC BREAKS- *Djokovic 6-3 3-6 4-2 Del Potro

    Djokovic is the benefactor of a net cord and he sportingly raises his arms towards his friend to acknowledge his good fortune. By hook or by crook, however, Djokovic has three break points and he only needs the one as Del Potro goes long. Sometimes that's just the way the cookie crumbles.

  9.  
    Djokovic 6-3 3-6 3-2 Del Potro*

    Del Potro pounces on a tame Djokovic drop shot to level at 15-15 but the Argentine can soon be heard groaning as he finds the tramlines instead of the target, allowing the second seed to skip ahead to 40-15. The Serb then pulls Del Potro from tramline to tramline before securing the hold with an overhead crosscourt volley to keep the pressure on his opponent.

  10.  
    *Djokovic 6-3 3-6 2-2 Del Potro

    An angry roar from Djokovic after his return drifts long for 30-15. Del Potro, unfazed, determined, carries on and rattles through unscathed, ending matters with one of many unreturnable serves.

  11.  
    Djokovic 6-3 3-6 2-1 Del Potro*
    Juan Martin Del Potro

    Nervous groans ripple around the arena as Djokovic's first double fault of the match presents Del Potro with a 0-30 advantage. The Serb reduces the arrears, but an uncharacteristic wayward forehand gives Del Potro two break points. A rip-roaring ace saves one. Del Potro, however, has Djokovic backpedalling on the next point, but then screws a forehand into the tramlines. Danger averted! Del Potro then goes long. Djokovic wriggles free. The Argentine considers whacking his racquet on the ground but, I assume, quickly remembers he's only brought two with him to the Big Smoke.

  12.  
    *Djokovic 6-3 3-6 1-1 Del Potro

    One spectator gasps as Djokovic finds the line with a backhand winner, dragging him level at 15-15. However, the Argentine flag is soon being waved around the O2 - an ace taking Del Potro to 40-15 and he sees out the game with another howitzer down the middle.

  13.  
    Djokovic 6-3 3-6 1-0 Del Potro*

    The previous three encounters between these behemoths have gone the distance, with Djokovic the victor in the last two matches (Wimbledon and Shanghai). The Serb smashes his way to 40-0, though Del Potro reins him in to 40-30 with a crackerjack of a forehand. The Argentine can resist no more though, slapping the ball into the tape to allow Djokovic to hold.

  14.  
    GAME AND SECOND SET- *Djokovic 6-3 3-6 Del Potro

    Djokovic wipes his perspiring brow with the back of his hand before menacingly glaring at the man at the other side of the net, as if to say 'give it your best shot, punk'. Del Potro's best is enough, or rather Djokovic's errors - a screwed backhand into the tramlines - presents him with a set point and the Argentine concludes a fascinating set with a booming serve which is too hot for Djokovic to handle.

  15.  
    Djokovic 6-3 3-5 Del Potro*
    Novak Djokovic

    Djokovic aims out wide, Del Potro can just about get some graphite on the return but fails to direct the ball over the barrier, and it's a hold to love to the defending champion.

  16.  
    *Djokovic 6-3 2-5 Del Potro

    Can Del Potro hold his nerve? Can he capitalise? Ten unforced errors from Djokovic's faltering racquet in this set to Del Potro's three suggests the game is ebbing back his way. A commanding hold and, just like that wonderful summer in Wimbledon, the Argentine is matching the Serb blow for blow.

  17.  
    DEL POTRO BREAKS- Djokovic 6-3 2-4 Del Potro*

    Ooh groan the crowd as Del Potro wraps a forehand around the net, replays proving the world number five's effort kissed the tramline. 0-30 Del Potro. Could Djokovic be in trouble? He reduces the deficit, but proceeds to whack a forehand into the tramline, presenting his opponent with two break points. A baseline rally ensues. Surely Djokovic will come out on top? They bash away... back and forth, back and forth, until a net cord favours the Argentine and Del Potro raises his arms in recognition of his good fortune.

  18.  
    GET INVOLVED- #bbctennis

    Shohidur Rahman: The one criticism I have of Del Potro is that he almost always goes cross court with the backhand, too predictable.

  19.  
    GET INVOLVED- #bbctennis

    Joel Newman: Djokovic is like #jamesbond in #theworldisnotenough "I never miss!"

  20.  
    *Djokovic 6-3 2-3 Del Potro

    Del Potro seems to be cruising towards a hold to love until Djokovic sprints towards the net, delicately placing a volley beyond Del Potro's path. A wayward groundstroke from Del Potro puts his rival back in contention at 40-30, though the Argentine eventually comes through unscathed.

  21.  
    Djokovic 6-3 2-2 Del Potro*

    The lengthier the baseline slug-fests the greater the odds of Djokovic coming out on top and the Serb knows that. Del Potro falters from the baseline, while the Serb's serves are impeccable, down the middle, out wide, a kick here, a kick there, and Del Potro has no hope of troubling on the return.

  22.  
    *Djokovic 6-3 1-2 Del Potro

    Djokovic slaps a weary backhand into the tape and then mutters something in his native tongue, perhaps sensing an opportunity missed as Del Potro gathers a 40-15 lead. The error seems to galvanise the 26-year-old, however, as a winning return whistles past Del Potro. The Argentine, though, collects the point he needs to nudge ahead.

  23.   
    Piers Newbery, BBC Sport at the 02 in London

    "Despite a valiant effort from his fans to get a rousing chorus of "Delpo, Delpooo!" going in the latter stages of the first set, the Argentine had the legs taken from under him by 40 minutes of being run ragged by Djokovic. Possibly the only two people among the 17,000 in the O2 not enjoying 'refreshments' this evening, Del Potro looked like he could do with a drink by the end of it. All the talk had been of a lengthy three-setter but it seems Djokovic doesn't fancy the rush for the last tube from North Greenwich."

  24.  
    Djokovic 6-3 1-1 Del Potro*

    Djokovic untroubled on his serve. He moves the towering Argentine this way and that before scampering to the net to tap away a winning volley. It all seems so effortless for the defending champion as he once again glides towards the tape, a deft volley securing him a hold to love.

  25.  
    *Djokovic 6-3 0-1 Del Potro
    Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero watches

    Manchester City's Sergio Aguero is watching his compatriot at the O2 and the striker will perhaps be pleased at the sight of Del Potro finding the target with four of his first serves, and shortening the length of the points. An ace out to the wings eases Del Potro to 40-15 and Djokovic nets to gift him a confident hold.

  26.  
    GAME AND FIRST SET- Djokovic 6-3 Del Potro*

    An impressive hold from Djokovic, ending the game with a second serve ace, and the defending champion returns to his chair confident and comfortable, though not too comfortable as he feels it's necessary to change his shirt.

  27.  
    *Djokovic 5-3 Del Potro

    Del Potro opens with a humdinger of an ace. Kerpow! Another missile out wide. Ace. Boom! And again! A 130mph howitzer down the line. Ace! 40-0. Rat-a-tat-tat. Djokovic then plonks a return into the tape and it's a clinical hold to 15 from the Argentine.

  28.  
    Djokovic 5-2 Del Potro*
    Novak Djokovic

    A classy hold from the man who seems to have forgotten how to lose. Even at this stage of the match, it seems Del Potro has a steep hill to climb.

  29.  
    DJOKOVIC BREAKS- *Djokovic 4-2 Del Potro

    Big hitting from Del Potro. A forehand winner - his first of the evening - ensuring he levels at 15-15. The Argentine then rumbles towards the net... Djokovic can't fathom a way beyond Del Potro's 6ft 6in frame and the Argentine simply pats away a volley for 30-30.

    A momentum-changing forehand into the corner from Djokovic, however, puts Del Potro under pressure and forces the man from Tandil to drag a forehand wide. Break point Djokovic. Unforced error from Djokovic, though, this time backhand long. From deuce to advantage and back to deuce until Djokovic gathers a second break point. The unrelenting Serb pulls Del Potro from right to left and the Argentine eventually wilts, directing a tired forehand wide.

  30.  
    Djokovic 3-2 Del Potro*

    At 30-30 Djokovic looks as though he could be troubled but the Serb is the master from the baseline and he comes through unscathed.

  31.  
    *Djokovic 2-2 Del Potro

    Tardy ticket-holders are given a talking to by the umpire before Del Potro gets the game under way. The impatient Argentine thumps a forehand wide to rashly end the rally, giving Djokovic a sniff of a whiff at 15-30. It all seems strangely inevitable that Djokovic will collect his first break point of the match, which he does, and the Serb is only a fraction wide with a colossal forehand, full of top spin and menace, into the corner. Second break point Djokovic. The defending champion sucks in the air but Del Potro throws down an ace powerful enough to break down a barn door. Third break point - thanks to a beautifully constructed point ended with a deft overhead volley. Danger averted though. Ace. Deuce. Two Djokovic errors and Del Potro holds.

  32.  
    Djokovic 2-1 Del Potro*

    Djokovic, donned all in black, proves he is as ruthless and intimidating as an All Black as he conjures a winning backhand to complete a trouble-free hold to love.

  33.  
    GET INVOLVED- #bbctennis

    Dellow: Great confidence of Djokovic to play so aggressive in order save that break point so early on #bbctennis

  34.  
    *Djokovic 1-1 Del Potro

    Early indications suggest there could a few brutal baseline exchanges between these two this evening. The hulking Del Potro, the youngest player in the draw, loses one such battle but, in the end, comes away with a convincing hold.

  35.  
    Djokovic 1-0 Del Potro*

    A hush descends around the arena before Djokovic prepares to launch the first rip-snorkelling serve of the evening. First blow to Del Potro, though, as the defending champion screws a backhand into the tramlines. A number of unforced errors from the Serb's racquet, a faulty forehand gifting his opponent two break points. Djokovic saves one before embarking on a marathon baseline battle, one which he confidently ends with a winning backhand. Djokovic has his nose in front and holds with a thunderous forehand winner.

  36. 2013: 
    Novak Djokovic

    The two players who are preparing to go toe-to-toe by the Thames are the sport's in-form men. Djokovic, the defending champion, the second seed, is unbeaten in 18 matches while Del Potro, a one-time finalist, has lost just twice since the US Open in September. A minute or two remaining of the warm-up before the two collide.

  37. 2010: 
    FEDERER ON TROICKI MISSED DRUGS TEST

    Taking the focus away from this evening's match for a moment, Roger Federer has given his view on the 12-month ban given to Viktor Troicki for refusing to give a blood sample in April.

    Novak Djokovic called the decision "a total injustice" on Tuesday, but Federer has less sympathy for Troicki.

    "I do believe that when you are requested for a sample, you have to give the sample," said the Swiss after this afternoon's win over Richard Gasquet.

    "It doesn't matter how bad you feel. I'm sorry. The test the next day for me is not a test any more, because what could have happened overnight?"

  38.   
    Piers Newbery, BBC Sport at the 02 in London

    "So just to be clear, any sort of win tonight will take Djokovic through to the semi-finals, while Del Potro needs to get it done in two to make sure he's still around on Sunday. Which is relatively straightforward compared to some of the scenarios we've been faced with here in the last four years. We must be missing something..."

  39. 2008: 
    GET INVOLVED

    The players have been introduced to the enthusiastic crowd but that doesn't mean you can just relax and wait for the match to unfold. Life isn't that easy. There's currently a debate on BBC Sport's Facebook page concerning the greatest tennis matches of all time and this is where you come in.

    Does Djokovic v Del Potro at Wimbledon top your list? You can get involved either by posting your comments on Facebook or tweeting using the hashtag #bbctennis.

  40. 2002: 

    It is highly unlikely that Del Potro and Djokovic will be slugging it out for four hours and 43 minutes, as they did at Wimbledon over five magnificent sets, participating in the longest semi-final in the tournament's history. But that doesn't mean the skill, the intensity, the tenacity witnessed that day will not be replicated.

  41. 2000: 

    Hello! Welcome back for the day's second instalment of tennis from the O2 Arena in London where hopes are high for another match of the highest quality between Novak Djokovic and Juan Martin Del Potro.

  42. 1955: 

    Four months have elapsed since that balmy afternoon in July, the day SW19 was gripped and captivated as two friends became rivals on Centre Court's pristine lawn. On and on they went; fetching and retrieving, fetching and retrieving. One hour elapsed, then two, three and four and still, even when they looked as if they were about to collapse to their knees, they battled on. In the end, Novak Djokovic was the last man standing in a never-to-be-forgotten Wimbledon semi-final but will he prevail again this evening?

    Novak Djokovic (left) with Juan Martin Del Potro

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