Novak Djokovic kicks off the season against Denis Shapovalov

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Novak Djokovic kicks off the season against Denis Shapovalov

World no. 1 Novak Djokovic will start the new season against the Canadian Denis Shapovalov at the ATP Cup on February 2. The 17-time Major champion hopes for another strong start of the season (Novak hadn't lost a match until September last year) and sets eyes on the ATP Cup and the Australian Open title defense.

Novak and Denis will share the court at the ATP Cup for the second straight year, setting another thrilling encounter following the one that lasted for two hours and 40 minutes! Novak prevailed 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 to earn the 23rd victory over the Canadian rivals in as many meetings and his fourth of the new season.

The Serb found a way to halt the youngster despite many ups and downs, as they both struggled with the weather and crowd. Denis gave his best to challenge a great rival, hitting more winners than Novak and more errors, some of those in the crucial moments that cost him a lot.

Djokovic repelled five out of seven break chances, grabbed three breaks from five opportunities and stayed calm in the deciding tie break to move Serbia into the last four.

Novak Djokovic will start the new season against Denis Shapovalov at the ATP Cup.

Shapovalov landed only 52% of the first serve in, and it was still his most potent weapon of the day, struggling more on the second but still offering only five chances to one of the best returners ever.

Novak saw none of those in the first set, the one that Denis clinched with a break in game nine when world no. 2 wasted four game points. Djokovic bounced back in set number two, fended off three break points in the third game and gathered momentum that carried him in the rest of the set, securing breaks in games four and six for 6-1.

Denis was back at his best in the opening eight games of the final set to stay on the level terms with Novak, suffering a break at 4-4 before pulling it back instantly to level the score and extend his chances ahead of the tie break.

There, the more experienced player opened a 5-0 advantage and converted the fourth match point at 6-4 to emerge at the top and bring home Serbia's another impressive tie.