Wednesday, 20 November, 2019

Djokovic breezes past Berrenttini in hunt at ATP Finals

Novak Djokovic on battling for year-end No. 1 spot Djokovic romps to victory in ATP Finals opener
Shannon Reynolds | 11 November, 2019, 01:43

Novak Djokovic made a superb start to his ATP Finals campaign with a dominant 6-2 6-1 triumph over tournament debutant Matteo Berrettini.

The Bjorn Bjorg group features Djokovic, Roger Federer, Dominic Thiem and Matteo Berrettini.

He has often struggled with injuries towards the end of the season - missing the ATP Finals previous year through injury and pulling out after just one match in 2017.

From 2-2 in the first set, Djokovic ran through the next eight games for a commanding 4-0 lead in the second set, until the Italian halted his opponentĀ“s charge with a break of his own. The only time Federer has failed to progress to the knockout stages was in 2008.

The Serbian was last week nudged off the top position in the rankings by Rafael Nadal, who is also in the eight-man field in London.

Djokovic, who won the Australian Open and Wimbledon this season, must reach the final in London to have any chance of overtaking Nadal at the top of the rankings.

The second seed saw off the challenge of Berrettini in just 64 minutes, converting five of seven break points and out-serving his 23-year-old opponent.

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Thiem served and returned superbly, improving his record against Federer to five victories and two defeats as he bids to end a fruitful 2019 by claiming a sixth title of the year.

"There's no other reasonable explanation (to that reaction) than trying to play as flawless as possible", Djokovic said from London.

And he will likely need a faultless display from here on in if he is to make it to the semi-finals at London's O2 Arena.

"It was not easy for him at his first Finals match, I knew he would be nervous at the beginning and I used my experience to perform well". That being said, this is still expected to be a tough match for Matteo Berrettini as he is playing against the number 2 seed.

Novak Djokovic is bracing himself to battle Roger Federer and his army of fans as he seeks to equal the Swiss player's record tally of six ATP Finals titles.

The Serbian, who has won 16 majors and is chasing the end-of-year number one ranking, said he had twisted "Roger, Roger" chants into Novak chants in his mind at Wimbledon.

Nadal, who has fitness concerns due to an abdominal problem, faces defending champion Alexander Zverev on Monday evening.

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