Novak Djokovic celebrated his year-ending number one spot with a convincing win over John Isner while Alexander Zverev carved out a tough, two-set victory against Marin Cilic on day of the ATP World Tour Finals.
Djokovic needed 73 minutes to defeat his American opponent, winning 6-4, 6-3 to brighten his chances of making it to the semi-finals yet again. With five titles at the ATP Finals already under his belt, Djokovic showed why he is the bookmakers’ favourite to go level with Roger Federer by the time this competition has ended.
Earlier, Federer had crashed to a straight-set defeat at the hands of Kei Nishikori.
Isner, who at 33 became the oldest player to feature at the World Tour Finals for the first time – Andres Gimeno, 35, still holds the previous record – did not prove any kind of a match on Djokovic in a match that was clearly dominated by the Serb from get-go.
Such was the Djokovic dominance, Isner managed to win just four points on the world number one’s serve, but what made matters worse for the American was his opponent’s regularly brilliant returns of serve. Isner admitted Djokovic was the best returner of serve he had played against and on the night he had come out with his A-game.
The Wimbledon and US Open winner, Djokovic had break points he failed to convert off Isner’s first two service games but at 3-2, he became third time lucky with a solid forehand return that won him the game. He served out the set later.
In the second, Isner was broken at 3-3 before Djokovic made it a second break to seal off the easy win.
The other match of the day saw Zverev needing two tie-breakers to see off Marin Cilic’s challenge and notch up his first points of the tournament. However, Cilic had his chances but failed to convert them, which included a chance to serve for the first set at 5-3.
Zverev came back strongly to break back and took the set to a tie-breaker which he won 7-5.
The German was a break down in the middle of the second set as well but the same routine repeated again. He broke back, a tie-breaker ensued but this time it was a rather one-sided one that Zverev won 7-1.
Federer takes on Dominic Thiem and Nishikori faces Kevin Anderson in today’s ATP Finals matches.