Novak Djokovic proved to be top dog in men’s tennis once again after producing an immaculate display to tame American giant John Isner 6-4 6-3 at the ATP Tour Finals in London.
The elastic-limbed 31-year-old, bidding to equal Roger Federer‘s record of six titles at the ATP’s blue-riband event, is a massive favourite to complete an incredible resurgence from world number 22 in June with another title in London’s docklands.
He will now set his sights on Germany’s Alexander Zverev in his second round-robin match after the exciting 21-year-old beat Croatia’s Marin Cilic 7-6(5) 7-6(1) to open his account in the Gustavo Kuerten group earlier in the day.
Isner, at 33 the oldest first timer at the eight-man season-ender since Andres Gimeno made his debut aged 35 in 1972, was not overawed but never managed to lay a glove on Djokovic in the 73-minute contest.
Djokovic lost only four points on his own serve in the first set but what was most worrying for Isner was the way his opponent managed to read his towering delivery, pinging back returns to the baseline with monotonous regularity.
“He’s the best returner I’ve ever faced for sure,” Isner said. “Sometimes you got to hope he’s a bit off. Unfortunatley, I don’t think that was the case tonight. I got my ass kicked.”