(CTN News) – In a gripping opening match at the ATP Finals, Novak Djokovic faced a formidable challenge from Danish debutant Holger Rune, ultimately securing a hard-fought victory with a 7-6(4) 6-7(1) 6-3 triumph. The win marked Djokovic’s record-extending eighth year-end number one ranking, reinforcing his status as one of tennis’s all-time greats.
The 36-year-old Serbian maestro showcased his resilience and experience, overcoming the spirited performance from Rune, who impressed the crowd in Turin’s Pala Alpitour with his dazzling play.
Djokovic’s uncharacteristically poor performance in the second-set tiebreak was overshadowed by his ability to leverage his wealth of experience in the deciding set.
Djokovic and Sinner Set for Epic Showdown in Upcoming ATP Finals Clash
Earlier in the day, Italian sensation Jannik Sinner enthralled his home crowd with a dream start, defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4 6-4 in their opening Green Group clash. Djokovic’s next challenge awaits him against the in-form Sinner on Tuesday.
Djokovic’s 19th successive win in the ATP Finals effectively shut the door on any chance of Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz overtaking him in the rankings this week.
The match against Rune was a rollercoaster, with a sensational first set leading to a nail-biting tiebreak, won narrowly by Djokovic. Rune, known for his victories in two of their previous four meetings, responded strongly, forcing another tiebreak which he convincingly claimed.
Breaking early in the deciding set, Djokovic faced a hiccup with a poor service game, demonstrating visible frustration by smashing two rackets during the changeover.
However, Rune’s wavering focus at 2-3 allowed Djokovic to regain control, sealing the victory and the coveted year-end number one ranking.
Reflecting on the match, Djokovic expressed, “It took everything. The first game he was firing shots, and I knew it would be a tough night. He played great, and I played great in moments. It was an emotional win knowing that I would clinch the world number one.”
In the earlier clash, world number four Sinner displayed exceptional form, delighting the Italian fans with a commanding 6-4 6-4 victory over Tsitsipas.
Sinner, making his ATP Finals debut after playing as an alternate last year, served impeccably and showcased powerful groundstrokes, securing breaks in each set for a routine win.
Reflecting on his performance, the 22-year-old Sinner shared, “It’s a special week, such an incredible feeling playing here with the roof closed and the crowd.”
In the upcoming clash on Tuesday, Djokovic and Sinner are set to face off in what promises to be a thrilling encounter between the seasoned champion and the rising Italian star. Tennis enthusiasts can expect more captivating moments as the ATP Finals continue to unfold in Turin.
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