United Cup: Novak Djokovic makes impressive start

Novak Djokovic is off to a winning start to the season

by Jovica Ilic
United Cup: Novak Djokovic makes impressive start
© Paul Kane / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

World no. 1 Novak Djokovic is off to a winning start to the season. Novak leads Serbia at the United Cup, facing Zhizhen Zhang in the first match. Djokovic scored a rock-solid 6-3, 6-2 triumph, pushing Serbia in front ahead of the WTA match.

Novak scored one break in the opening set and broke Zhizhen's resistance with a strong performance at the beginning of the second. Djokovic barely lost a point behind the first serve, dominating his games and never facing a break point.

World no. 1 seized three out of seven break points, doing enough to seal the deal in straight sets. Novak held at 15 in the encounter's first game with a service winner. The Chinese served well in the second game, firing an unreturned serve and holding at love for 1-1.

Djokovic grabbed the third game with another free point from his initial shot and pushed strong on the return in the next one.

Novak Djokovic defeated Zhizhen Zhang in straight sets.

Zhang faced a break point and denied it with a powerful serve.

The Chinese held after deuces, surviving a challenge and locking the result at 2-2. Novak clinched the fifth game at love with a backhand winner and prepared another assault on the return in the next one. Djokovic tamed the rival's serve and broke at love after Zhang's forehand error, opening a 4-2 advantage and setting into a fine rhythm.

Novak held at 30 in game seven and closed the opener with a powerful serve at 5-3, wrapping up the first part of the duel in 34 minutes. Zhang squandered a game point at the beginning of the second set, and Djokovic forced the rival's mistake for an early break.

The Serb held at love in game two and delivered another break a couple of minutes later after the Chinese's loose forehand. Novak held at love for 4-0, playing well and marching toward the finish line. Djokovic forged a 5-1 lead with another fine hold in game six, forcing his opponent to serve to stay in the match.

Zhang defended a match point in game seven and held after deuces, reducing the deficit to 5-2 and extending his chances. Novak served for the triumph in game eight and held at 30 to seal the deal and emerge at the top.

Novak Djokovic