ATP Finals: Novak Djokovic beats Ruud, equals Ivan Lendl's feat
World number one Novak Djokovic defeated Casper Ruud in his opening clash of the 2021 ATP Finals on Monday. The Serbian claimed a 7-6(4), 6-2 victory after surviving an early scare. With this, Djokovic has equaled legend Ivan Lendl's record of winning 39 matches at the ATP Finals. The former is vying to win his sixth title at the year-end championships.
Why does this story matter?
Djokovic became the first singles player to qualify for the ATP finals in June this year. He secured the berth after winning Wimbledon. Djokovic has lost only one Grand Slam match in the ongoing season (lost to Medvedev in the US Open final). The world number one earlier won the Australian Open and French Open. He is now the front-runner to win in Turin.
Djokovic equals Lendl in terms of match-wins
Djokovic now has a win-loss record of 39-16 in the ATP Finals. He equaled the record of Lendl, who won as many matches in the tournament (39-10). The duo is now behind Swiss maestro Roger Federer (59).
Djokovic in pursuit of equaling Roger Federer
Djokovic has won the ATP Finals a total of five times, the joint-second-most with Lendl and Pete Sampras. The Serbian could emulate Federer, who owns a record six season-end finale titles. Djokovic won the title in 2008, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015. Besides, he was the runner-up in 2016 (lost to Andy Murray) and 2018 (lost to Alexander Zverev).
Seventh year-end number one finish
Djokovic entered the ATP Finals as the top seed. After winning the Paris Masters semi-finals, he had assured himself of a seventh year-end number one finish. He has now attained this feat most times (2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2018, 2020, and 2021). Djokovic was earlier tied with Sampras, who finished as the world number one in 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, and 1998.
Djokovic eyes his 50th match-win in 2021
Djokovic is 49-6 in the ongoing season. He is set to become the sixth player with 50 or more ATP match-wins in 2021. Prior to the ATP Finals, he beat Medvedev to win a record-extending sixth Paris Masters title. This was Djokovic's 37th Masters 1000 title. He was earlier tied with Rafael Nadal in terms of these titles.
Djokovic could become the oldest ATP Finals champion
Djokovic is in pursuit of becoming the oldest ATP Finals champion. As per ATP, he could become the second player to secure this trophy after turning 30, after Federer. The Swiss ace won his sixth title in 2011, aged 30.