Novak Djokovic joined Roger Federer as a record six-time ATP Finals winner after the Serb beat world number four Casper Ruud in Sunday’s title match at the season finale in Turin.
After emerging unbeaten from the round-robin group stage and beating Taylor Fritz in the semi-finals on Saturday, Djokovic once again called on his experience and scintillating tennis to break the resolve of 23-year-old Ruud.
Djokovic prevailed 7-5 6-3 at the Pala Alpitour arena, earning him a salary of nearly $4.75 million as the undefeated tournament champion.
After some grueling competition over the week in Turin – including his three-hour battle with Russia’s Daniil Medvedev in the group stage – Djokovic appeared to struggle physically in the first set against Ruud and was seen with his hand is shaking as he wiped his face during a change.
But the 21-time Grand Slam champion held on, breaking through on Ruud’s serve in game 12 to claim the opening set, having fended off three previous break point chances.
The Serb further took the initiative in the second set by breaking Ruud’s serve in the fourth game, before seeing the set and the match.
Ruud had comfortably defeated Russian rival Andrey Rublev in the semi-finals but failed to create a single break point opportunity on Djokovic’s serve during the match. The Norwegian remains winless in four career matches against Djokovic.
While the title was a sixth at the ATP Finals for Djokovic, it was his first at the event since 2015.
It means the 35-year-old Djokovic capped off the year in style, following a season that began with his unsavory expulsion from Australia but then included the heights of his Wimbledon win and ATP titles at the Masters of Rome, Tel Aviv and Astana.
After being allowed to return to the Australian Open in January after his visa ban was recently overturned, Djokovic will be among the big favorites once action begins in Melbourne as he chases his 10th crown tournament record.
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