Novak Djokovic battles past Casper Ruud in opening ATP Finals match

Advertisement Novak Djokovic battles past Casper Ruud in opening ATP Finals match Star defeats Sweden’s Ruud at O2 Arena to advance into second round of season finale Share Shares Copy Link Copy

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic breezed past Sweden’s Casper Ruud 6-1, 6-1 Tuesday in his opening match at the ATP Finals in London.The 11-time Grand Slam champion hasn’t dropped a set on his way to the Nov. 11-20 season finale.Djokovic took just 66 minutes to beat the 110th-ranked Ruud, who was making his ATP Finals debut.The top-ranked Djokovic’s semifinal opponent will be Stan Wawrinka or Tomas Berdych.Wawrinka had a 6-4, 7-6 (3) win over Wawrinka in the first match at the O2 Arena on Monday.Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray will remain in the field despite missing out on the top four spots in the rankings because of injury.Djokovic said he’s not worried by how far he fell behind in the rankings this year.He’s taking the approach that this is only the beginning of the year.”I knew this is the direction that the world rankings were going — it was always the plan for me to make the top four this year,” Djokovic said. “Obviously it is nice to be there and it’s a great place to be but now the priority is to try to win the tournament, and that’s what’s in my mind right now.”Djokovic had trouble keeping his serve against Ruud. He won just 53 percent of first-serve points.”Off the court, I’ve been doing more and more work with my fitness team — keeping focus during the matches is more important than ever,” Djokovic said.Djokovic has won the season-ending event for the past five years but the next stop on the circuit is the Australian Open, the only Grand Slam he hasn’t won.He ended a two-year title drought in January with a victory in the Qatar Open and has been in impressive form since, winning all 13 of his matches on the way to the O2.The 29-year-old Djokovic still has three Grand Slam titles to his name, although none since the 2016 French Open.He played in the same group as five-time champion Nadal — the top-ranked Spaniard lost 7-6 (4), 6-4 to Juan Martin del Potro — and 2008 champion Murray — who also beat Del Potro 7-6 (5), 6-4.Federer was set to take on Daniel Brands when his opening match was suspended due to poor light.Pablo Carreno Busta beat seventh-seeded Milos Raonic 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, while Kei Nishikori beat Diego Schwartzman 7-6 (6), 7-6 (5).

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