Novak Djokovic produced a masterclass on Monday to launch his campaign for a record-equalling sixth title at the ATP Finals as Daniil Medvedev outfought former champion Alexander Zverev, reports AFP.
The world number one crushed Argentine eighth seed Diego Schwartzman 6-3, 6-2 in the opening round-robin match in Group Tokyo 1970 before Russia’s Medvedev triumphed 6-3, 6-4.
Djokovic, who has already sealed the year-end number one spot for a record-equalling sixth time, is aiming to match the absent Roger Federer, who holds the record of six ATP Finals wins. The Serbian, 33, has enjoyed another sparkling season despite the coronavirus interruption, winning four titles including the Australian Open.
He came into the match at an empty O2 Arena with a 5-0 record against the diminutive Schwartzman but the debutant started impressively, breaking Djokovic in the third game.
However, the top seed broke back immediately and took his game up a notch, breaking again and converting his first set point with a powerful serve down the T.
Two more breaks in the second set were enough to take Djokovic to a comfortable win against his outclassed opponent. The Serbian admitted he had started slowly but said he was pleased with his game as the match wore on.
“In the second set I started swinging through the ball a bit more, bit less hesitation from both corners and I was very pleased with the way I played in the second set especially,” he said. The five-time champion said he was missing the fans, who usually pack the cavernous O2 Arena for the elite eight-man event.
“I’ve been playing the ATP Finals in this arena for many years and I’ve been blessed to experience some incredible matches and atmospheres and it feels very strange to play in front of empty stands,” he said.
The evening contest between Medvedev and Zverev was a rematch of last week’s Paris Masters final, where the Russian came out on top.