Tennis Novak Djokovic defeats Matteo Berrettini in Nitto ATP finals...

Novak Djokovic defeats Matteo Berrettini in Nitto ATP finals | London 2019 | ATP Tour

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Novak Djokovic began his quest for a record-breaking sixth Nitto ATP Finals crown on Sunday, firing a warning shot at his rivals as he beat Italian debutant Matteo Berrettini 6-2, 6-1 over 64 minutes in the Group Bjorn Borg opener .

Djokovic is now 440 points behind Rafael Nadal in the battle to become the No. 1 finish in the ATP rankings. The Serbian must reach the final to get a No. 1 finish for a sixth time, which would match the record for Pete Sampras (1993-98). Nadal begins his campaign on Monday against the defending champion Alexander Zverev in group Andre Agassi on Monday night.

The 32-year-old Djokovic has compiled a 54-9 match record this year, including five tournament titles at the Australian Open (d. Nadal) and Wimbledon (d. Federer), two ATP Masters 1000 events at the Mutua Madrid Open (d. Tsitsipas) and at the recent Rolex Paris Masters (d. Shapovalov), plus a 500-level ATP at the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships (d. Millman).

Djokovic made breakthroughs in the sixth game when Berrettini overestimated two ground punches to put him under pressure. While the eighth seed saved the first break point, a forehand in the net handed Djokovic a 4-2 lead. Twelve pre-forced errors in the 28-minute opener cost Berrettini, the first Italian to play singles in the season finale since Corrado Barazzutti in 1978.

From 2-2 in the first set, Djokovic ran through the next eight games for a leading 4-0 lead in the second set. A double error from Berrettini gave Djokovic his third service break, but Berrettini was able to get a single break to 1-4 as Djokovic hit a backhand wide. Djokovic finished the win with a routine forehand win close to the net. The champion of 2008, 2012-15, is now 36-12 lifetime in the season finale. Berrettini made a total of 28 unforced errors.

Berrettini, who started 2019 outside the Top 50 in the ATP rankings, has had a breakthrough year and set a match record of 42-22. He has won two ATP Tour titles at the Hungary Open in Budapest (d. Krajinovic) and at the MerdedesCup in Stuttgart (d. Auger-Aliassime). He was also ranked second at the BMW Open by FWU (l. To Garin).

"I think he came back amazingly, the most impressive thing he did," said Berrettini, who admitted to nerves. “I've learned a lot from Roger and from Rafa. I definitely want to learn a lot from him. We played fast, fast, and he moved better than me, played better than me. So it was hard to win points. But I think I played really well. I don't mean really good, but a good match. I feel pretty confident. "

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