Imperious Djokovic sees off valiant Sinner to win record seventh ATP Finals crown
The Serb dropped just eight points on serve in the entire match and withstood a bold showing from Sinner in the second to clinch his 98th career title
World No 1 Novak Djokovic produced a performance as good as any in what’s been another incredible year as he dismissed home favourite Jannik Sinner 6-3, 6-3 in Turin on Sunday to win the ATP Finals for a record seventh time.
The 36-year-old was untouchable on serve – he dropped just two points in the first set and six in the second – and though Sinner fought hard in the second, the Serb held on to win in one hour, 42 minutes and become the first man to win the season-ending title seven times, breaking free of a tie with Roger Federer.
“It’s very, very special,” Djokovic said. “It’s been one of the best seasonsI’ve had in my life no doubt. Toc rown it against a hometown hero, against Sinner…. it’s phenomenal.
“I’m really proud of my performances the last two days against Alcaraz and Sinner I had to step it up, I had to win the matches, not wait for them to give me victory. I think I’ve tactically played differently today against Jannik.”
Having become the oldest man to win the title when he did so 12 months ago, at 35, Djokovic extends the record to 36. And on Monday, he’ll be world No1 for a record-extending 400th week.
Sinner had beaten Djokovic in the group stages and played brilliantly all week but he was helpless as Djokovic produced a Tour de Force to add the ATP Finals title to the three Grand Slams he won in 2023. It is his 98th career title, closing in on Federer (103) and record-holder Jimmy Connors (109) in the men’s all-time list.
Djokovic also picked up his 71st hardcourt title, equalling Federer and he extended his lead in the head to head battles with Sinner to 4-1.
Djokovic drops just two points on serve in first set
The match began in a carnival-type, World Cup-like atmosphere, the crowd’s cheers for Sinner ringing round the Pala Alpitour.
Sinner matched Djokovic early on but it was the Serb who looked the sharper, serving efficiently and immediately putting Sinner under pressure. The Italian looked solid at 1-2, 40-15 but at deuce, he decided not to challenge a forehand of his that was called long, but replays (shown to TV) suggested was in. Break point down, Sinner then shanked a forehand wide to give Djokovic an early break.
The world No 1 had beaten Carlos Alcaraz in style in the semis and he was right on his game from the start, ripping through his service games, losing just two points on serve in total, and landing 83 percent of his first serves.
Sinner held firm on serve to at least force Djokovic to serve out the set but the 36-year-old was up to the task, closing it out to love to move ahead.
Djokovic maintains focus, Sinner fights but in vain
The crowd were trying their best to lift Sinner but Djokovic was having none of it. He broke serve in the opening game of the second and held quickly to move to 2-0.
Sinner then found himself in trouble again at 30-40 on serve in the next game but was given a glimmer of hope when Djokovic, having set up the point brilliantly, missed a simple forehand pass, that cannoned off the tape and went wide.
That could have been the turning point as Sinner saved two more break points to get on the board. Djokovic held easily to make it 3-1 but at 3-2, the Italian created his first two break point chances at 15-40.
Crucially he couldn’t make a return on either of the next two points and Djokovic held for 4-2. In the next game, Sinner was constantly under pressure but he somehow came through it after more than 15 minutes, saving two more break points in the process, to stay in touch.
Djokovic had missed a shocker of a volley in that epic game and then missed an even easier one on the first point of the seventh game. At 0-30 there was another glimmer of hope for Sinner but he couldn’t find the accuracy he needed and Djokovic held on.
Serving to stay in the match, Sinner missed a forehand to give Djokovic match point and when his second serve bounced off the net and flew long, the match was over.