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Djokovic sees off Ruud in ATP Finals opener

The world No 1 got to grips with his opponent and conditions as he made a winning start in Turin

Novak Djokovic ATP Finals RR 1 AI / Reuters / Panoramic

ATP Finals, Turin | Draw | Schedule

  • What happened: Novak Djokovic beat Casper Ruud 7-6 (4), 6-2 to win his opening round-robin match in Turin.
  • Why it matters: Djokovic is trying to equal Roger Federer’s record of six ATP Finals titles.
  • You will also learn: Who plays each other in the other match in the Green Group.

World No 1 Novak Djokovic opened his ATP Finals campaign with a convincing 7-6 (4), 6-2 victory over debutant Casper Ruud on Monday.

The Serb trailed by an early break of serve but bounced back quickly to win a high-quality first set on the tiebreak and then pulled away in the second to win his first match in the Green Group. It’s his 39th win in the ATP Finals, tied second with Ivan Lendl. He’s won his first match at the ATP Finals in all but one visit.

Stefanos Tsitsipas takes on Andrey Rublev in the other Green Group match later on Monday.

Favourite Djokovic recovers from slow start

Norwegian Ruud qualified for the ATP Finals for the first time after a stellar year which included five ATP Tour titles and the 22-year-old world No 8 gave a superb account of himself on his debut in the eight-man event.

A break of serve in the first game gave him the perfect start and Ruud maintained his lead until Djokovic broke back for 3-3. He saved two set points at 4-5 as he forced a tiebreak and had a minibreak lead at 3-2, only for Djokovic to win five of the next six points to take the lead, rifling a forehand down the line to clinch it 7-4 after 62 minutes.

The second set was more comfortable for Djokovic, who broke serve in the first game, targeting the Ruud backhand to open the space. A second break made it 4-1 and he served it out with ease, finishing with 35 points out of 39 on his first serve.

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