World No. 1 Novak Djokovic opened up his ATP Finals campaign with a strong 6-4, 6-3 win over John Isner.
The 5-time ATP Finals champion has now beaten the American five straight times and in nine of 11 meetings. He never faced a break point while breaking Isner three times.
I don’t think it’s the reason I was so dominant. I just prepared myself well for the match and executed everything really, really well,” Djokovic said. “But, indeed, I do fell a little less, so to say, pressure coming into the tournament knowing that I secured the World No. 1 spot.”
At age 33, Isner was making his ATP Finals debut.
“He is No.1 and No.2 and No.3,” assessed Isner on Djokovic rank among returners. “He’s the best returner I’ve ever faced for sure. I’ve said that before, too. So he’s a very good tennis player.”
Djokovic has now won 32 of his last 34 matches, and looks ahead to a Wednesday encounter with Alexander Zverev in the Gustavo Kuerten Group.
“I’m feeling fit physically and mentally. I’m looking forward to that match. 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,” Djokovic said. “I obviously put myself in a very good position with the group with a straight-sets win. Obviously playing Zverev, who also had a straight-sets win today, I look forward to that. It should be a great match.”
Zverev overcame a steep first set 2-5 deficit to beat Marin Cilic 7-6(5), 7-6(1).
“I had a very good start to the match at 3-0 break-point,” said Cilic who has lost his last six to the German. “So I was close to having the double break in the first set. After that, when I lost my serve, I missed a few balls from a couple of unforced errors.
“I [hit] one double fault and gave him an opportunity to come back… After that, I felt that he started to play a bit better. He served, towards the end of the set, quite good and the tie-break was tight. I think it could have gone both ways and just, generally, I felt that I was playing well. I was not capitalizing on my chances.”
Cilic slumps to 1-9 at the ATP Finals. He’ll face Isner on Wednesday.
Six-time champion Roger Federer returns Tuesday to take on Dominic Thiem. After a surprise opening round loss, Federer will try to get back in the Lleyton Hewitt group against the Austrian who he leads 2-1.
“We haven’t played in a while,” Federer said. “I haven’t thought about the match, to be honest. I haven’t had enough time. I wasn’t even thinking who I’m going to play next. I just know I need to do better than today. That’s pretty much it.”
Also, Sunday winners Kevin Anderson and Kei Nishikori collide for the third time in the last month. Anderson won his Vienna while Nishikori took the win in Paris, and overall the Japanese leads 5-3. Both players could qualify for the Saturday semifinals with wins.
TUESDAY ATP FINALS LONDON SCHEDULE
Centre Court 12:00 Noon
RR 6 Raven KlaasenMichael Venus v 7 Nikola Mektic/Alexander Peya
Not Before 2:00 Pm
RR 4 Kevin Anderson v 7 Kei Nishikori
Not Before 6:00 Pm
RR 2 Juan Sebastian Cabal/Robert Farah v 4 Jamie Murray/Bruno Soares
Not Before 8:00 Pm
RR 2 Roger Federer v 6 Dominic Thiem
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