Alexander Zverev felt a patient approach paid off against John Isner as he made sure not to miss out on the knockout stages of the ATP Finals for a second successive year.
German Zverev failed to qualify for the semi-finals in 2017 after losing his final group match, going down in a three-set thriller against Jack Sock at the O2.
However, the world number five made sure history was not repeated when facing another American opponent this year, recording a 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 triumph over John Isner to set up a clash with Roger Federer on Saturday.
In a tightly fought contest, the 21-year-old from Hamburg recorded the only break against the big-serving Isner, who bowed out of the season-ending tournament with a third straight defeat.
"Against John, you have to be patient. There are going to be a lot of games where you really don't touch the ball on his serve," Zverev told Sky Sports.
"That's what happened for one and a half sets basically, so you've really got to take your chances when you get them.
"I did that well today and I'm very happy to be through to get another chance to play tomorrow."
Zverev admitted the memories of losing to Sock at the same venue a year earlier had motivated him ahead of his final outing in Group Guga Kuerten.
"I was in the same position last year against Jack Sock and missed my opportunity to go through," he added.
"I really wanted to do it differently this year, I really wanted to come out and be aggressive, play the best game I can and give myself the best possible chance to be in the semi-finals."
In the other last-four clash, top seed Novak Djokovic will take on Kevin Anderson of South Africa.
|Amateur Hovland breaks Jack Nicklaus´ U.S. Open record|
|Koepka makes blistering start to close in on Woodland|
|Nothing more Raptors can do – VanVleet on Leonard´s impending free agency|
|Euro U21s Review: Italy beat Spain as Poland edge five-goal thriller|
|PSG president Al-Khelaifi hands control to Leonardo amid Neymar exit talk|
|Rose moves into share of lead with Woodland|
|Capitals sign Hagelin to four-year extension|
|Women´s World Cup Review: Sweden and United States ease into knockout rounds|
|We have to back ourselves, says struggling Pakistan skipper Sarfraz|
|Paraguay 2 Qatar 2: Asian Cup winners battle back in Copa America bow|
|Bhuvneshwar set to miss India´s next two to three games|
|Albacete 1 Real Mallorca 0 (1-2 agg): Visitors set up play-off final with Deportivo|
|Reyes´ son receives Sevilla shirt in touching gesture|
|Andy Murray ´still has the touch´ after ´life-changing´ surgery|
|Ex-Fulham boss Jokanovic named Al Gharafa head coach|
|MotoGP Raceweek: A rookie mistake from a five-time champ! - Vinales slams Lorenzo|
|Ndombele, Lo Celso, Rabiot, Longstaff? - Man Utd´s possible Pogba replacements|
|India rule with ruthless efficiency as Pakistan´s rallying cry goes unheard|
|Rohit & Kohli inspire India to rout of Pakistan|
|´F*** Sarri-ball´, Europa League success, Kepa´s insubordination - Sarri´s highs and lows at Chelsea|
|Jorginho in limbo? Kante back in position? The winners and losers of Sarri´s Chelsea exit|
|PSG must end ´celebrity behaviour´, says Al-Khelaifi|
|United States star Carli Lloyd sets Women´s World Cup scoring record|
|Garcia rallies to take Nottingham title in marathon final|
|How can Sarri take Juventus to the next level?|
|Lampard and the contenders to replace Sarri at Chelsea|
|Bangladesh v West Indies: World Cup strugglers target momentum boost from Taunton showdown|
|Evalds treble clinches big Salford win|
|Chelsea must get ´right people around´ Lampard - Gullit|
|Fuglsang comfortably holds on for second Dauphine title|
|Mannarino ends wait for first ATP title with Rosmalen triumph|
|Berrettini denies Auger-Aliassime first title in Stuttgart Open final|
|Debate: Was Maurizio Sarri a success at Chelsea?|
|Le Mans glory for Toyota as Alonso joins Buemi and Nakajima in scoring repeat triumph|
|India´s Bhuvneshwar goes off injured... and replacement Shankar strikes first ball|
|I do not know anything - James still in dark over Real Madrid future|
|Japan v Chile: Two-time reigning champions begin title defence|
|MotoGP Raceweek: Triumphant Marquez defends apologetic Lorenzo|
|Travis Kelce: Kareem Hunt´s release from Chiefs ´ripped our hearts out´|
|Relentless Rohit and record-breaking Kohli help India punish Pakistan|
|Buffon ponders break from football after spurning PSG offer|
|Riske saves five championship points to stun Bertens|
|How does Sarri compare to Chelsea bosses under Abramovich?|
|MotoGP Raceweek: Lorenzo collision gifts Marquez victory in Barcelona|
|Sarri leaves Chelsea and takes over at Juventus|
|Kohli smashes Tendulkar´s record as fastest man to 11,000 ODI runs|
|Ndombele tempted by ´big club´ Tottenham|
|Mitchell the fall guy as Blues boss Fittler makes sweeping changes for second Origin game|
|Rabiot a mix of Pogba, Vidal and Marchisio, claims Buffon|
|Pogba wants ´new challenge somewhere else´ amid Manchester United exit talk|
|It was a lot of expense and not the expected results - Leonardo doubted on PSG return|
|Mitchell double helps Roosters see off Bulldogs but fails to win him Origin spot|
|Fury plans New York fight before taking on Wilder again after Vegas victory|
|Pakistan put India in as Shankar replaces Dhawan at Old Trafford|
|Pogba has ´unfinished business´ at Manchester United - Pires|
|Rumour Has It: Bayern offer Bale escape from Madrid|
|Rose ready to play with ´nothing to lose´ at U.S. Open|
|Astros´ Alvarez shines in win over Blue Jays|
|Yankees acquire Encarnacion from Mariners|
|Fury impressively stops Schwarz in second round|
|Woodland ´enjoying the moment´ as U.S. Open breakthrough looms|
|LeBron James reacts to Anthony Davis trade: Just the beginning|
|Mexico 7 Cuba 0: Antuna scores hat-trick in Gold Cup rout|
|Koepka hopes recent dominance helps in final round|
|Messi ´bitter´ after Argentina lose Copa America opener|
|Scaloni criticises pitch after Argentina defeat|
|Woodland´s lead cut to one as Rose closes in|
|Woods refuses to blame pain as cold weather triggers Tiger|
|Magic Johnson congratulates Lakers over reported Davis trade|
|Warrington edges Galahad to retain IBF featherweight title|