Novak Djokovic finished the season on a high as he defeated Casper Ruud 7-5 6-3 to win his sixth ATP Finals title, equaling Roger Federer’s record. The world number 8 will now move up three places in the rankings after going unbeaten all week, earning 1,500 ranking points and a record £4,230,030 ($4,740,300) in prize money.
Djokovic and Ruud took the court for the final match of the ATP season with the ATP Finals title, up to 1500 ranking points and a record prize money on the line. The Serb was also looking at history, as he was looking to tie Roger Federer for a record six titles at the year-end championships, while the 23-year-old was seeking the biggest title of his career and his first. victory for him over Djokovic.
It was experience that served Djokovic early in the match, as he was handed two break points in Ruud’s first service game thanks to two errors by the third seed. But it was the 35-year-old’s turn to make a series of errors as he made five errors on the next six points to allow Ruud to hold and then take a 0-30 lead on his own serve.
The world number 4 saved another break point to stay tied with the seventh seed at 4-4 and found himself facing set point as he served to force a tiebreaker at 5-6 after failing to recover when Djokovic’s ball it brushed the net but stayed well inside. the lines, and the Norwegian’s 19th error cost him the set as the five-time former champion took a 7-5 lead after 55 minutes.
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Ruud began to grow frustrated when he made another error to give Djokovic a break point at 1-2 and his error count rose to 25 as he gave the Serb a set and break lead that cemented his strength in the match. . The 23-year-old still showed his sportsmanship despite struggling against Djokovic, as he told the world number 8 to correctly challenge one of his shots that was disallowed, giving Djokovic the point.
The nine-time title winner was able to hold after his graceful gesture, but Djokovic remained unplayable in the second set, not dropping a point on his first serve until the seventh game. Ruud managed to win one final game before the world number 8 turned up to serve for the title, showing some signs of nerves making two errors in the game before winning a 36-shot rally to set up a championship point. And with his two sons watching, Djokovic wrapped up a 7-5, 6-3 victory in one hour and 32 minutes with an ace to make history and join Federer in a record six ATP Finals titles.
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It was perhaps an all the more remarkable feat given Djokovic’s physical issues this week, after the Serb was seen shaking during his three-hour, 11-minute battle with Daniil Medvedev in Friday’s round-robin match and again briefly during the first set. of the final on Sunday. The world number 8 also admitted that his legs still felt “heavy” in his semi-final against Taylor Fritz.
But Djokovic managed to push through to end the most unusual season of his career with his 91st career title and a record-equalling sixth ATP Finals crown. The 35-year-old started the year by being deported from Australia on the eve of the season’s first Grand Slam and ends it with his first Finals title in seven years, also taking titles in Rome, Wimbledon, Tel Aviv. and Astana. He will now end the season at world number 5, just 2,000 points behind world number 1 Carlos Alcaraz, and he has already received the news that he can start the next season by returning to the Australian Open.
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