Second seed Novak Djokovic saw off an uninspiring Matteo Berrettini in a 6-2, 6-1 victory in the opening match of the 2019 ATP Finals in London on Sunday evening.
After holding for two-all in the opening set, the Italian eighth seed strewed the ball frequently into the net and occasionally long. Djokovic broke in the sixth game for a 4-2 lead. Serving to stay in the opener, Berrettini gifted the Serb three set points with three unforced errors and then the set 6-2 with a fourth. In all, Berrettini logged 17 unforced errors to Djokovic’s three in the set.
Berrettini was more of the same as the second set began, hammering the ball long in his first service game to give Djokovic a break point and following that up with a double fault. Djokovic broke a second time take a four games to love lead, before Berrettini finally showed some fight and broke back. But the Serb broke back the very next game to lead 5-1 and then served out the match.
Running for records
Djokovic is bidding to match American great Pete Sampras’s record of finishing as the year-end world No. 1 six times. The Serb No. 2, currently tied with Roger Federer on five times, began the ATP Finals 640 points behind Rafael Nadal, with a maximum of 1,500 available – 200 for wins in each of three round-robin ties, 400 for winning a semifinal and 500 for victory in the final.
On his part, Nadal is looking to match Djokovic and Federer by ending the year as No. 1 for a fifth time.
Djokovic is also attempting to tie Federer’s record of six ATP Finals titles. Nadal is seeking a first, which would give him the singles tennis box set of all four Grand Slams, Olympic gold and the ATP Finals – the first man to do so. Djokovic and Federer are missing the Olympics singles title.
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