World number two Novak Djokovic kick-started his ATP Finals campaign with an emphatic victory over debutant Matteo Berrettini at the O2 Arena in London.
Djokovic is bidding to equal the record for the most wins at the season-ending event – currently held by Roger Federer – and produced a superb performance in his opening group match.
On the back of winning his fifth Paris Masters title last week, the Wimbledon and Australian Open champion proved too strong for Berrettini to claim a 6-3 6-1 win in one hour and three minutes.
The early signs were positive for 2018 runner-up Djokovic, who produced four successive first serves for an easy hold, before threatening to break Berrettini immediately.
While the big-serving Italian recovered from 30-0 down and deuce to hold, Djokovic was able to impose himself from the outset and demonstrate his brilliant returning ability.
Midway through the first set, Djokovic created two break points and Berrettini was unable to stop the Serb despite regularly serving at more than 140mph.
The decisive break dented Berrettini and lifted Djokovic, who proceeded to break at his next two opportunities to clinch the first set and take control of the second.
Nevertheless, Berrettini showed glimpses of his potential, most notably when he produced a brilliant point in his first service game of the second set to earn applause from the O2 crowd and the humble Djokovic.
Despite this, the 23-year-old still found himself 4-0 down and staring down the barrel of a painful defeat as 16-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic dazzled in his first match of an event he has won five times.
Just as Djokovic hoped to see the game out, he produced an uncharacteristically sloppy service game and was punished to be broken for the first time in the match.
The 32-year-old was livid at the changeover but took his frustration out on the Berrettini serve, once again showing brilliant reflexes and skill to secure another break.
Djokovic, who still has hopes of ending the year as world number one, served out the match to clinch a clinical victory and lay down a marker to his ATP Finals rivals.
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