In London on Saturday afternoon, Novak Djokovic's hotly anticipated clash with Rafael Nadal -- a Real Madrid fan -- was far from a classic. Thank Djokovic's genius for that.
Their rivalry has produced some of the most dramatic matches in tennis history -- think of the 2012 Australian Open final, when Djokovic prevailed in nearly six hours -- but lately the Serb has had little difficulty seeing off Nadal.
So it continued at the O2 Arena, as a flawless Djokovic cruised past Nadal 6-3 6-3 to remain on course for a fourth consecutive title at the World Tour Finals. He'll battle Roger Federer in Sunday's final.
"I don't feel unbeatable, but it does definitely feel great when I'm playing the way I played today, when I feel like I'm dictating the pace, the match itself, most of the rallies, I feel like I'm on top of my opponent," Djokovic told reporters.
The second semifinal at the year-end championships took place Saturday evening and Djokovic knew for sure he'd tangle with a Swiss, either Federer or Stan Wawrinka.
They've both had greater success against Djokovic this season than Nadal.
Federer accounts for half of the world No. 1's paltry six losses in 2015, while Wawrinka inflicted the most painful reverse, overcoming the 28-year-old in the French Open final
to, as it would turn out, prevent Djokovic from completing the calendar year grand slam.
It was Federer who advanced 7-5 6-3 in another anticlimactic match, although the 34-year-old had to recover from 4-2 down in the first. The tussle was nothing like last year's semifinal, when the record six-time tournament winner saved four match points to progress. His wife, Mirka, also taunted Wawrinka late in the third set.
Extended to nearly three hours and with a Davis Cup final on the way, Federer pulled out of the final the next day with a bad back to gift Djokovic the crown. He doesn't plan to be a no-show this year.
"He's had a tremendous year," Federer told the crowd. "Another great semifinal against Rafa so I know it's going to be really difficult. I'll give it all I have. It's the last match of the season. I'm sure going to leave it all out on the court tomorrow."
Federer will be buoyed by defeating Djokovic on Tuesday in the group stage, yet he said afterwards he expected Djokovic to become "tougher to beat."
When Djokovic and Nadal last duelled in Beijing five weeks ago, the final score read 6-2 6-2 in the former's favor. Even though Nadal tallied more games Saturday, it seemed less close.
Djokovic sizzled from the outset, hitting eight winners to build a 3-0 lead, and protected his serve with aplomb -- dropping just 10 points overall and never facing a break point.
Nadal saved a break point to begin the second set aided by a body serve and managed to contain Djokovic for a spell. But one sensed that a Djokovic break was always coming, and it duly arrived in the fifth game. He broke again with a backhand cross-court winner, a shot that has tormented the 14-time grand slam winner, to wrap up proceedings.
Djokovic levelled his head-to-head record with Nadal -- they've each won 23 times -- and emerged triumphant in eight of the past nine. He is 9-0 in sets in 2015.
"When somebody's doing like this, just the only thing I can do is congratulate him and just wish not the best of luck for the next year," Nadal told reporters, smiling.
Nadal, however, will probably leave London in good spirits. Slumping for much of 2015, the left-hander beat three top-10 players in a row in Wawrinka, Andy Murray and David Ferrer.
Indeed, given his recent form, if anyone other than Djokovic is on the other side of the net, he would like his chances.
Djokovic, meanwhile, collected his 30th win this season against top-10 opposition. Subpar versus Federer this week -- his 23-match winning streak was snapped -- and doing enough to down Tomas Berdych on Thursday, he lifted his game Saturday.
He knows the danger Federer presents. In best-of-three matches this year, Federer leads Djokovic 3-2. Djokovic won the U.S. Open and Wimbledon finals.
"When he's on, it's hard to play him," Djokovic said. "I think he also likes playing me because he has variety in his game with the slice, he comes to the net, takes away the time from me, so forth. We always play matches with a lot of tension. There is a lot at stake."
Djokovic won't be the crowd favorite Sunday. He'll know it, too. But with the season he has put together, some would say it would only be fitting if he makes it four straight titles indoors in London.