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Djokovic downs debutant Ruud for winning start at ATP Finals

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World number one Novak Djokovic began his quest for a sixth title in the season-ending ATP Finals with a 7-6 (4) 6-2 victory over Norway’s Casper Ruud in their tournament match at the round in Turin on Monday.

Djokovic suffered a crash and lost his first service game, but recovered to regain his rhythm against Ruud, who is making his debut at the event after five tournament wins this season.

“It was weird. I played a good forehand and got into the net and had a good header. I slipped, tripped, dropped my racket and lost my serve,” said Djokovic. .

“The conditions here are difficult. If you lose your service, it’s hard to get it back. But I managed to stay. I’m happy with the way I handled the game.

Ruud’s powerful forehand helped him keep pace with Djokovic for much of the first set, but he was dominated in the tie-break as the 20-time major winner forced his 22-year-old opponent to make a series of mistakes to win the first game.

It was straightforward in the second set for Djokovic, who erupted in Game 1 and dominated longer rallies as Ruud struggled on the serve before finally falling in an hour and 31 minutes.

Djokovic was then presented with the year-end world number one trophy for a seventh time, improving the mark set by 14-time Grand Slam champion Pete Sampras.

“I was four or five years old when I first saw Sampras play at Wimbledon. I asked for a racket and fell in love with tennis. To know that I have this record now, after Pete, it’s unbelievable, ”said Greek world number four Stefanos Tsitsipas against Russian Andrey Rublev in the other Green Group clash on Monday.

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