Novak Djokovic was at his imperious best as he sealed the year-end world No.
1 spot and advanced to the semi-finals of the ATP Tour Finals on Friday with a 6-2 6-2 thrashing of Tomas Berdych.
Djokovic finishes on top of the rankings for the third time in four seasons and is only the seventh player to hold No.1 at calendar year-end at least three times.
The Serb’s third successive group victory at the prestigious season-ending event at London’s O2 Arena ensures he takes out Group A and will face Japan’s Kei Nishikori in Saturday’s semi-finals.
The second semi-final will be an all-Swiss affair after Stan Wawrinka’s 6-3 4-6 6-3 win against US Open champion Marin Cilic to book a clash with six-time winner Roger Federer.
The No.1 ranking was a fitting reward for Djokovic’s 2014 consistency, winning Wimbledon, reaching the French Open final and claiming five other titles.
“It’s been a long year, a long season, it’s an incredible achievement and I want to thank my team and my family and all the people who supported me.
“I’m aware that being number one in the world is the biggest challenge a tennis player can have. It’s an incredible feeling and I’m very happy.
“This was definitely one of the best performances.”
The complex formula used to determine the group standings meant world No.4 Wawrinka only needed to win three games against Cilic to be guaranteed to finish as Group A runner-up.
The Australian Open champion, who also made the semis last year, wasted little time taking three of the first four games and eventually clinched his second win of the tournament.
“It was a tough match. It’s never easy to play against Marin – he’s been having an amazing year,” Wawrinka said.
“I hope I can get a little bit of support because I know people love Roger here. It’s going to be tough for me, but I need to trust myself and go for it.”
With top spot wrapped up, Djokovic – losing a combined nine games during his three group victories – can focus on becoming the first player to win the Tour Finals three years in a row since Ivan Lendl in the 1980s.
It is the 11th consecutive year that Djokovic, Federer or Rafael Nadal has finished on top of the rankings.
And, after Federer’s brilliant 6-0 6-1 demolition of Andy Murray on Thursday, it was Djokovic’s turn to showcase the gap between the big three and the rest.
The 27-year-old had looked untouchable in his routs of Cilic and Wawrinka and continued to dominate against Berdych, who had lost 16 of his 18 meetings with the Serb.
Djokovic’s agility meant there was no chance of world No.7 Berdych outhitting him from the baseline and the Czech was soon left shaking his head in frustration as he was broken twice in the first three games.