World no.2 Novak Djokovic got off to a winning start at the Nitto ATP Finals on Sunday afternoon.
The 32-year-old Serbian star produced an impeccable display in London to defeat eighth seed Matteo Berrettini, who was making his tournament debut, 6-2, 6-1.
Novak broke the Italian’s serve twice in the opening set for 6-2. A triple break in the second set saw the 16-time Major titlist seal his 54th match win in 2019. Berrettini gained a single break during the 63-minute clash, when Novak hit a backhand wide.
The victory is Nole’s 36th at the Nitto ATP Finals, which puts him in a tie with former world no.1 player, Boris Becker, for the third most in the event’s history.
“It feels great to be back in London,” Djokovic said in his on-court interview. “It was not easy for him to be playing his first Tour Finals match and I knew he might be a bit nervous. Fortunate to get the break and then I started reading his serve better and played solid throughout the match.”
Match statistics: aces (4-4), double faults (1-2), winners (10-12), unforced errors (8-28), total points won (58-30).
Novak will play no.5 seed Dominic Thiem in RR2 on Tuesday at 21.00 CET (6-3 H2H record). The Austrian beat Roger Federer (SUI, 3) 7-5, 7-5 in the second singles match of the day.
Rafael Nadal (ESP, 2), Daniil Medvedev (RUS, 4), Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE, 6) and Alexander Zverev (GER, 7) are in the Group Andre Agassi.
Djokovic is bidding to equal Federer’s record of six titles at the season-ending championships, having lifted the trophy in 2008, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015.