Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 22 October 2019

Novak Djokovic asserts his dominance to win Japan Open on debut

Top-seeded Serb did not drop a set all week and was far too good for John Millman in the final

Novak Djokovic celebrates with the Japan Open trophy after his win over John Millman in the final. Reuters
Novak Djokovic celebrates with the Japan Open trophy after his win over John Millman in the final. Reuters

World No 1 Novak Djokovic lived up to expectations at the Japan Open by clinching the title on Sunday without dropping a set all week.

Djokovic, 32, was the only player ranked inside the top-10 competing in Tokyo and the top-seeded Serb made light work of each of his five opponents, including Australia's John Millman in the final - cruising to a 6-3, 6-2 win.

The Japan Open is Djokovic's fourth title of the season following wins at the Australian Open, Madrid Masters and Wimbledon. Making his debut at the tournament, it is the 10th time in Djokovic's career he has won the title on a first visit.

After comfortable service holds in the first three games, Djokovic took his only break point of the first set in the fourth game before surging into a 4-1 lead. It proved the only break of the opener as the 16-time grand slam champion closed it out on his first set point.

The second set soon became lop-sided as Djokovic claimed two successive breaks to open up a 4-0 lead and he maintained his double-break advantage to win the title on his first match point.

The routine manner of the final summed up Djokovic's dominance of the entire week. In his final three matches, he dropped just 15 games and facing a qualifier in the final there was little doubt Djokovic would emerge victorious.

Indeed, the world No 1 paid tribute to his opponent, who had saved match points in the first round of qualifying before going on to reach the final.

"He had a great tournament. Considering he was close to losing in the first round of qualies, to get this far, I think he’ll take it. He’s a great fighter. He started off really solid in the match today," Djokovic said.

"We had a tough battle in the first set. [In] the second set I stepped it up, started swinging through the ball even better than the first set. Overall, it was a great tournament for him."

Djokovic next week makes his way to China for the Shanghai Masters where he will look to defend the title he has won a record four times.

"I think this is definitely a level higher than the past couple of months in terms of my tennis," Djokovic said. "Hopefully I can maintain that in Shanghai, as well."

Updated: October 6, 2019 03:03 PM

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