World No 1 Novak Djokovic makes a commanding start to ATP Finals by taking apart Diego Schwartzman in straight sets as he targets sixth end-of-season title
- Novak Djokovic boosted hopes of a sixth ATP Finals title by winning on Monday
- Rafael Nadal, his biggest threat, eased past Russia Andrey Rublev on Sunday
- Djokovic was convincing against Diego Schwartzman in a 6-3, 6-2 victory
Novak Djokovic matched Rafael Nadal by making a convincing start to his campaign at the Nitto ATP Finals in London.
Nadal swept past Andrey Rublev on Sunday evening and Djokovic made it a similarly uncomfortable experience for the other debutant, beating Argentinian Diego Schwartzman 6-3, 6-2 at The O2.
It took Djokovic’s record to 12-1 in opening matches at the ATP Finals, with his only loss coming to David Ferrer on his debut in 2007, and was a return to winning ways after the shock of a 6-2, 6-1 defeat by Lorenzo Sonego in Vienna last month.
Novak Djokovic started his ATP Finals off in commanding fashion with a straight sets victory
The world No 1 took care of competition debutant Diego Schwartzman in a 6-3, 6-2 encounter
The Serbian all but admitted after that match that, having ensured he would finish a season ranked No 1 for a record-equalling sixth time, he considered his job done for that week.
He is looking to match another record by winning a sixth title at this tournament, and is the strong favourite having lost just three matches all season.
The squeaking of Djokovic’s shoes was the loudest sound to be heard in an empty arena as the world No 1 employed his brand of precision tennis.
Djokovic is chasing a record-equalling sixth title in the end-of-season ATP competition
Schwartzman is the smallest man ever to qualify for the prestigious end of season tournament
He looked a little nervous to start with and a poor service game allowed Schwartzman to strike first to lead 2-1, but Djokovic hit straight back and began to pull away as he relaxed into the match.
Another break for 5-3 all but wrapped up the set, and he stamped his authority on the second set with an immediate break.
Schwartzman, at 5ft 7in the smallest man to qualify for the year-end tournament for 40 years, had not beaten Djokovic in five previous meetings and there were no signs at all that was about to change.
The Argentinian’s serve was taking a pounding and it took Djokovic just an hour and 18 minutes to wrap up victory.
Djokovic was relentless and needed just one hour and 18 minutes to have secured the win
Schwartzman has not beaten Djokovic in his last five attempts and it never looked likely here
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