Novak Djokovic made a winning start at the ATP Finals thanks to a 6-4, 7-6 triumph over Stefanos Tsitsipas. Novak prevailed in the crucial moments and delivered his ninth consecutive victory over Stefanos in an hour and 38 minutes.
The Serb won eight points more than the Greek and fired 23 winners and 15 unforced errors. Like in Paris, Tsitsipas gave his best to topple a great rival, firing almost 30 service winners and landing 25 winners and 23 unforced mistakes.
Still, it was not enough at least for a set, taking only 13 points on the return and squandering a break chance in the second set. Djokovic made a perfect start and broke the opponent in the encounter's first game. He marked that moment as pivotal, giving him the confidence to push hard in the rest of the duel.
Tsitsipas played against only two break points, recovering his game after a slow start and staying on level terms with Djokovic in the next an hour and a half. Stefanos had more service winners than Novak and took more points in the shortest range up to four strokes.
The Serb erased it in the more extended exchanges, exploiting the rival's backhand and playing his best tennis when it mattered the most. Novak dropped only four points behind the initial shot in the opening set. He offered Stefanos no break points and closed it with an early break.
Novak Djokovic defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas for the ninth consecutive time.
Djokovic created two break points in the first game and converted the second after Tsitsipas' loose forehand. The Serb held at love in game two to cement the lead and fired a service winner at 2-1.
Stefanos raised his level after an initial setback and served well in the rest of the set to remain within one break deficit. Novak closed the eighth game with an ace and forced the opponent to serve to stay in the set. Tsitsipas grabbed the ninth game at 15 to reduce the deficit, hoping for a chance on the return in the next one.
Djokovic brought the tenth game home at 15 after Stefanos' poor challenge for 6-4 in 37 minutes. Novak experienced his only issues on serve in the second set's fourth game. He saved a break point, and it was the last chance for the returners to threaten the servers.
They introduced a tie break, and Djokovic was flawless again. He moved 3-1 in front with a backhand crosscourt winner and took the next point after Tsitsipas' wayward forehand. Stefanos reduced the deficit to 5-4 with a forehand down the line winner and two service winners.
Novak earned two match points with a forehand down the line winner at 5-4 and sealed the deal with a service winner in the 11th point for a winning start. "It was essential to break Stefanos in the encounter's first game.
An early break is always a massive boost of confidence and relief, as we both knew it would be a tight match. Stefanos and I had some close battles in the last couple of tournaments. It was essential to make a strong start and serve well, which I did. I played great in the tie break, and my level was very solid overall," Novak Djokovic said.