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Djokovic makes winning start, Berrettini suffers major injury

By Tobi Awodipe
16 November 2021   |   2:58 am
World No 1, Novak Djokovic began his bid for a sixth Nitto ATP Finals title with a victory yesterday, downing Casper Ruud 7-6(4), 6-2 in Turin to move to 1-0 in Green Group action.

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic celebrates with the ATP number 1 player trophy after winning to Norway’s Casper Ruud during their single match of ATP Finals’ first round at the Pala Alpitour venue in Turin on November 15, 2021. (Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP)

World No 1, Novak Djokovic began his bid for a sixth Nitto ATP Finals title with a victory yesterday, downing Casper Ruud 7-6(4), 6-2 in Turin to move to 1-0 in Green Group action.

The top seed took an early tumble but recovered as he rallied from a breakdown in the first set, finding his rhythm from the baseline to fire 23 winners to secure victory after 90 minutes. The Serb, who last lifted the trophy in 2015, is aiming to tie Roger Federer’s record six triumphs at the tournament, which is being held in Turin for the first time.

Djokovic will also play Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev in the round-robin stage, with the pair facing off in their opening match on Monday evening.

Djokovic arrives in Turin in form, having clinched his record-breaking 37th ATP Masters 1000 crown in Paris two weeks ago.

By reaching the final, he secured the year-end No. 1 FedEx ATP Ranking for a record-breaking seventh time, eclipsing the mark he previously shared with Pete Sampras.

Earlier this season, Djokovic came within one victory of completing the Grand Slam. He went 27-1 at the four major championships with trophies at the Australian Open, Roland Garros, and Wimbledon before he lost to Daniil Medvedev in the final at the US Open.

Djokovic has now tied Ivan Lendl for the second-most wins (39) in Nitto ATP Finals history, behind Federer with 59.

Meanwhile, Matteo Berrettini’s opening match on home soil at the finals ended in disappointment Sunday night after he was forced to retire due to an injury to his abdomen at the start of the second set. Following the Australian Open in February, the 25-year-old was sidelined for two months due to an abdominal injury he suffered at the first major of the season. Berrettini admitted he is unsure, whether the injury, which forced him to retire against Zverev, is a recurrence of the same problem and is unsure if he will continue.

If he pulls out of the tournament, the first alternate, Jannik Sinner would take his place.

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