WATCH: Novak Djokovic rock solid in defence on way to extending 13-year streak
Novak Djokovic looked comfortable as ever at the ATP Finals as he began his 14th campaign at the elite season-ending event.
Casper Ruud had a tough task in trying to overcome the world number one on his ATP Finals debut in Turin.
Prior to the battle, Djokovic had won 12 consecutive opening matches at the ATP Finals. He last lost his opening match on his own debut, against David Ferrer back in 2007.
While the Norwegian put up a good fight in the opening set, Djokovic was at his defensive best, including this exchange late in the first.
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) November 15, 2021
Djokovic then sealed the first set 7-4 in a tiebreak, before momentum took the Serb to a 7-6 (7-4), 6-2 victory.
The 34-year-old has already secured a record seventh year-end world number one crown. In doing so, he overtook his idol Pete Sampras, who achieved the feat every year from 1993 to 1998.
Now, the Serb is pushing to equal Roger Federer’s record of six titles at the Finals. Djokovic has previously won the event in 2008, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015.
He has since reached the final twice, in 2016 and 2018, losing to Andy Murray and Alexander Zverev respectively on those occasions.
In his group, Djokovic is yet to play Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev.
In the case of Tsitsipas, it will be the pair’s first meeting since the final of Roland Garros.
Djokovic leads the Greek 6-2 in their head-to-head. Finally, Rublev represents an unknown for the Serb. He is the only 2021 ATP Finals competitor that Djokovic has never played before.
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