Nadal and Zverev advance, Djokovic out of ATP World Tour Finals

The top three seeds came through their opening matches in the first round of the ATP World Tour Finals on Wednesday, with world No. 1 Rafael Nadal overcoming John Isner 7-6 (7-2), 6-4 and…

Nadal and Zverev advance, Djokovic out of ATP World Tour Finals

The top three seeds came through their opening matches in the first round of the ATP World Tour Finals on Wednesday, with world No. 1 Rafael Nadal overcoming John Isner 7-6 (7-2), 6-4 and No. 2 Alexander Zverev seeing off Gael Monfils 6-2, 7-6 (7-4).

Novak Djokovic, however, will be the biggest disappointment, as he was comprehensively outclassed by the 38th-ranked player in the world, Casper Ruud, who converted just one of his six break point opportunities in a one-sided 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 victory. Ruud threw his racquet across the court following a gutsy run of wins, and although he made a serious last stand in the second set, he couldn’t hold firm.

For Djokovic, it is the latest in a sequence of disappointing results since he returned to the top 10 following a wrist injury that saw him recuperate the world No. 1 spot at the tail end of 2016. The Serb, however, has beaten Roger Federer in all five of their meetings so far this year, yet lost his past three – against Marin Cilic, David Goffin and Alexander Zverev – in one set.

Federer, meanwhile, defeated Kei Nishikori in straight sets, while Zverev, who arrived in London in recent days as the highest-ranked of the young guns after Andy Murray’s withdrawal, overcame Didier Cucineau 6-3, 6-3 and Juan Martin del Potro, 6-3, 6-4.

Nadal, meanwhile, overcame what had been, in the opening stages, a break-point-less first set in which a number of long rallies and backhands landed long, it remained a scoreline that had the powerful American hoping for a miracle before the end.

In the end, Nadal managed to tame his opponent’s signature left-handed serve to book his spot in the second round after 87 minutes, saving a break point in the second set and getting his opponents out of position on a few occasions at the end of the third set.

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