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Novak Djokovic Breaks Roger Federer’s ATP Finals Record With Masterclass Against Sinner

Novak Djokovic in action ahead of the ATP Finals.

Novak Djokovic and Jannik Sinner contested the final ATP match of 2023 at the ATP Finals in Turin. Djokovic was seeking a record seventh ATP Finals title but hopes were high for home favorite Sinner. He had played sublime tennis in his previous four matches in the tournament, including a dramatic victory in the group stage against Djokovic. However, the 24-time Grand Slam champion rose to the big occasion yet again to break yet another Roger Federer record by winning his seventh ATP Finals crown.

Novak Djokovic vs Jannik Sinner ATP Finals Recap

Rock Solid Djokovic Wins the Opening Set

The atmosphere was absolutely electric in Turin as the match got under way. Sinner would undoubtedly have hoped to feed off the local crowd to make a fast start. But Djokovic had other ideas. The recent US Open champion imposed himself from the beginning of the showpiece ATP Finals clash with superb serving and that continued throughout the set. Incredibly, over 50% of Djokovic’s serves were unreturned in the first set.

That meant Sinner needed to be equally as successful on serve to have a realistic chance in the quick conditions in Turin. Unfortunately for the 22-year-old, every other part of the Serbian’s game was also firing on all cylinders. His trademark return consistently found the court and gave Sinner very few problems. In addition, Djokovic blunted the Italian’s powerful baseline game with incredible efficiency. The 10-time Australian Open champion made just two unforced errors in the whole set, compared to 13 for Sinner.

The pivotal break came in the fourth game, as Sinner produced an error at 30-40. It was the only break of the set but in truth, Djokovic was in no danger as he took the opening set 6-3 at the ATP Finals.

Djokovic Somehow Gets Even Better in the Second Set

Any hopes of a swift Sinner recovery were brutally crushed by Djokovic at the start of the second set. The home favourite was broken to love in the opening game and proceeded to lose the first ten points of the set. There was no change in the Djokovic approach but his younger opponent simply could not cope with the level against him.

To Sinner’s credit, he did not throw in the towel. This year’s Toronto Masters champion saved three break points to avoid going a double-break down and began to to strike the ball better. The most important moment of the ATP Finals final came at 3-2 on Djokovic’s serve. For the first time, Sinner put his illustrious opponent under some pressure and held two break points at 15-40. But in characteristic fashion, Djokovic stepped up and saved both break points with two unreturned first serves.

However, the drama did not finish there. An extraordinary 16 minute game followed in the next game on Sinner’s serve. Despite squandering several game points, the Italian came through after saving two break points of his own with some impressive serving under pressure. But Sinner then could not take advantage of one final chance to claw himself back into the ATP Finals showdown. He had 0-30 on Djokovic’s serve but made a series of costly errors to allow the legendary Serbian to hold once again.

In the end, Djokovic did not need to serve it out. A Sinner double-fault gave Djokovic an unprecedented seventh ATP Finals title with a 6-3 -3 victory.

Main Photo Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports


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