Djokovic Clinches Year End No 1 Spot After ATP Finals Victory Over Rune

Novak Djokovic demonstrated his indefatigability once more as he beat Holger Rune 7-6(4) 6-7(1) 6-3 at the Nitto ATP Finals, securing the year-end No. 1 spot for a record-extending eighth time.

Djokovic’s 19th win in a row also guarantees he will spend a 400th week overall as world No. 1 following the finals.

“It means a lot,” said Djokovic of ensuring he will finish as year-end No. 1 ahead of Carlos Alcaraz.

“You could see there were a lot of emotions on the court. I could feel it. I was very eager to win tonight’s match, get that monkey off my back.

“I won Paris, which put me in a much better position rankings-wise, and I knew coming into Turin I only needed to win one match.

“A big goal is achieved, everything else now is a bonus.”

Novak Djokovic stomps on two rackets in rollercoaster ATP Finals win over  Holger Rune | Tennis | Sport |

The match against Rune went with serve in the opening stages as the world No. 1 looked in control of his own game with some fearsome returns.

Rune was equally competent in the early stages as he held off any challenge from the Serbian with accurate forehands and big serves.

Ahead of the match, the 20-year-old had refused to give up any details from his tactics in his 2022 Paris Masters win over Djokovic, and on Sunday night the youngster appeared to take inspiration from Roger Federer’s approach of getting to the ball early against Djokovic, and with new coach Boris Becker watching on, Rune moved 15-30 up against serve.

A poor backhand from the 36-year-old gave Rune two break points; Djokovic battled back to deuce but an uncharacteristic double-fault gave Rune a third breakpoint, this time converting with another strong forehand.

A double-fault from Rune and a poor drop-shot then allowed Djokovic straight back in to level at 3-3.

The pressure did not let up and at 6-5 Rune was serving to stay in the set. A poor volley went straight to Djokovic allowing him to earn a point, but the Serbian could not press home his advantage, and Rune’s serve held as he took the players to a tie-break.

American Tennis Legend Reveals How Novak Djokovic Relied on 'Hate' to  Achieve History at Australian Open 2023 - EssentiallySports

While Djokovic lost a tie-break to Rune at this year’s Paris Masters, he made no such mistake this time around, and with a solid serve coupled later with a brilliant crosscourt return, he took the first set in 71 minutes.

Rune then took the chance to gather his thoughts with a long break for the second set, and held his first service game.

He then moved two clear with another break, but just as he did in the first set, Djokovic pushed hard in response and would not be beaten by Rune as he secured his own break to move the score to 2-1.

Rune continued to use his powerful serve to his advantage, sending down his 10th ace of the match to go 3-2 clear in the second set as the match returned to going with serve. Neither player had any trouble with their next service games.

Rune’s 14th serve took it to 5-4 in his favour and left Djokovic serving to stay in the set, and some wild errors from the Serb in the next game gave Rune hope, only for the veteran to battle back to hold, and dominated the tie-break 7-1 to set up a decisive third.

In the opening exchanges of the third set, Djokovic was the one to break first this time, but following the pattern of the tie, Rune was the man who hit back right away.

A double-fault from Djokovic perhaps betrayed some stress, and that was confirmed when the Serb was given a code violation for smashing his racquet when his challenge for a deep shot from Rune came to nothing.

The world No. 1 has often been dominant in final sets and he refused to let up in the following game as he stretched out rallies where he could and probed for errors. The less experienced Rune was unable to hold him off and went 4-2 down.

As Djokovic held it was time for Rune’s temper to show and he remonstrated with the umpire as he went 5-2 down before running out of chances to claw back the match.

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