Serbian tennis maestro Novak Djokovic kicked off his quest for a record-equalling sixth Association for Tennis Professionals (ATP) Finals title with a comfortable straight sets victory over Italian debutant Matteo Berrettini in the Group Bjorn Borg opener on Sunday.
The 32-year-old sent a warning to his rivals by clinching a comfortable 6-2, 6-1 win over Berrettini in a one-sided first round that lasted a little over an hour.
In the opening set, Djokovic made the breakthrough when his Italian opponent over-hit two groundstrokes in the sixth game. After Berrettini saved the first break point, a forehand into the net handed a 4-2 lead to the Serbian, the ATP reported.
Berrettini, who was the first Italian to play men's singles at the season-finale since Corrado Barazzutti in 1978, made 12 forehand unforced errors to eventually hand the set to Djokovic.
In the second set, Djokovic won the eight straight games to take a commanding 4-0 lead before a double fault from Berrettini handed Djokovic his third service break. Though Berrettini gained a single break to make it 1-4, Djokovic smashed a routine forehand to emerge victorious.
With the win, Djokovic has now reduced the gap to top-placed Rafael Nadal to 440 points in the ATP rankings.
The Serbian has to make it to the summit showdown of the tournament to stand a chance to end the year at the numero-uno position for a sixth time.