Unbeaten, Djokovic Ends Challenging Season by Claiming Sixth Crown at the Finals

Unbeaten, Djokovic Ends Challenging Season by Claiming Sixth Crown at the Finals
Novak Djokovic celebrates victory over Casper Ruud at the Nitto ATP Finals championship match. November 20, 2022. Photo Courtesy: Corinne Dubreuil/ATP Tour.

World number eight, Novak Djokovic, achieves his sixth title at the year-end championships, displaying an outstanding performance from the physical and mental side to beat the third seed Casper Ruud on Sunday in Turin.

Novak Djokovic toppled Casper Ruud in straight sets 7-5, 6-3 after one hour and 33 minutes at the Pala Alpitour, bringing a challenging season to an end in style as he takes home the trophy, a record payday of more than $4.7 million, as well as 1,500 Ranking points.

In his on-court interview, the champion outlined: “It is finals. Usually, these kinds of matches are decided by very small margins.”

One break of serve was enough in both sets. I knew Casper was playing really well coming into this match. We both served really well, and I think in some decisive moments, like the 12th game of the first set, I managed to put a few returns back in play.

I made him run, made him play. I was really pleased with the way I played. I was looking to be very aggressive, and it worked great. I am pleased with the performance.

In their fourth meeting on Tour, the former world number one faced the Green Group winner, Ruud, to contest Sunday’s title match at the Nitto ATP Finals, in its second year with Turin as the host city.

Djokovic made a solid start to the opener, sharp on serve, winning 86 percent of the first serve points on it and an impressive 75 percent on his second, earning a crucial break in the 12th game to pull clear in the first set with a 7-5 victory after 52 minutes.

In the first couple of games, the Serbian showed signs of feeling unwell, but then, he seemed to have recovered enough energy not to allow fitness to become a factor, firing 14 winners (6 aces) to 10 unforced errors.

Ruud, 23, did not make the best start to the second set, dropping his serve and failing to damage his opponent with his forehand.

Wise on return, the seventh seed marched to extend his advantage to 3-1.

Playing his seventh tour-level final of the season, Djokovic rose, playing aggressively to within 20 minutes into the set, held a 4-1 lead against the nine-time ATP champion.

Solid from the baseline, the Belgrade native gained pivotal points, attacking with precision and consistency.

After a 36-shot intense rally, he served out the championship, wrapping up a 6-3 win with an ace, rounding up a high-quality encounter to capture his sixth title at the year-end championships, tied for the all-time lead with Roger Federer.

He finished with 85 percent of the first serve, converting two of five breakpoint opportunities.

On his way to the final, he stayed undefeated, moving past Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrey Rublev, Daniil Medvedev, Taylor Fritz, and Ruud.

Throughout a season in which he only competed in 11 tournaments, missing two majors, the Australian Open and the U.S. Open, due to his Covid-19 vaccination status, the 35-year-old earned his 7th crown at Wimbledon with no ranking points at stake.

In addition, he claimed titles in Rome, Tel Aviv, and Astana and will finish the season at World No. 5. following his triumph at the Finals in 15 appearances.

For his part, the year-end event runner-up enjoyed his breakout season, achieving two Grand Slam finals (Roland Garros and U.S. Open) and a maiden Masters 1000 championship match in Miami.

Moreover, he reached a career-high at World No. 2 last September, becoming the first Norwegian to claim the feat, also adding three titles to his name, Buenos Aires, Geneva, and Gstaad.

Cecilia demartini
Sports Pundit staff writer @ceci_2812
Cecilia is a writer and journalist, passionate about motorsport and tennis.Her articles are published in newspapers and international online publications.

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