London: World No 1 Novak Djokovic notched his 50th win of the season to cruise to an easy 6-4, 6-3 win and extend his domination over American John Isner in their opening round-robin match at the 2018 Nitto ATP Finals at the O2 Arena late on Monday.
Watched by Juventus and Portuguese star footballer Cristiano Ronaldo, Djokovic was at his best as he swept aside the 6.10ft American in straight sets in just 73 minutes. The win sets up the 31-year-old Serbian’s quest for a sixth title in this year-end tournament featuring the top-eight players in men’s tennis.
Going in with an 8-2 career advantage against Isner, Djokovic cashed in on the 33-year-old American’s error-ridden debut at The O2 Arena. Djokovic got the first break in the fifth, after which he cashed in on an amazing 19 unforced errors from his opponent to walk away with the opening set in just 43 minutes.
“I just prepared myself well for the match and executed everything really, really well,” Djokovic said at the post-match later.
“But, indeed, I do fell a little less pressure coming into the tournament knowing that I have secured the world No. 1 spot,” he added.
Isner got better in the second, but Djokovic only managed to further raise him game and get a much-needed break in the seventh to finally win 6-3 and begin his quest to match Roger Federer’s six season-ending titles when he takes on Alexander Zverev in his second match on Wednesday.
Djokovic has had an amazing season so far beginning with his win at Wimbledon followed by his triumph at the US Open to return to his familiar perch as world number one. The Serb has made ten appearances in the ATP Finals, during which he has won five times starting in 2008 followed by four consecutive ones from 2012 to 2015.
“I’m not too exhausted. I’m feeling fit physically and mentally. I’m looking forward to that match [against Zverev]. Obviously good thing about this tournament is that you have days in between matches, and you’re guaranteed to play three matches in the group. I obviously put myself in a very good position with the group with a straight-sets win,” the world number one said.
(Singles) Alexander Zverev bt Marin Cilic 7-6 (5), 7-6 (1); Novak Djokovic bt John Isner 6-4, 6-3.
(Doubles) Oliver Marach/Mate Pavic bt Pierre-Hugues Herbert/Nicolas Mahut 6-4, 7-6 (3); Mike Bryan/Jack Sock bt Lukasz Kubot/Marcelo Melo 6-3, 7-6 (5).
Order of Play (Tuesday)
(4pm) Raven Klaasen/Michael Venus vs Nikola Mektic/Alexander Peya; (6 pm) Kevin Anderson vs Kei Nishikori; (6 pm) Juan Sebastian Cabal/Robert Farah vs Jamie Murray/Bruno Soares; (8 pm) Roger Federer vs Dominic Thiem.
All times UAE