Novak Djokovic crushed Australian qualifier John Millman 6-3, 6-2, to mark his 10th win in a tournament main draw debut in his celebrated career. (Photo Credit: Twitter)
World number one Novak Djokovic grabbed the Japan Open Sunday, dispelling any concerns about his shoulder injury that pulled him out of the US Open. The Serb crushed Australian qualifier John Millman 6-3, 6-2, to mark his 10th win in a tournament main draw debut in his celebrated career, which includes 16 Grand Slams. Djokovic, who played his first Japanese competition ever, dominated throughout the week, never losing a single set to claim the trophy. It was his first competition since pulling out of the US Open due to a left shoulder injury.
Djokovic, who started the week by taking part in a doubles game, intensified his performance as the week progressed, never allowing his opponents, including world number 15 David Goffin, to pose serious threats. In the final match, Djokovic grabbed an early break in the first set to enjoy a 3-1 lead by blasting off a series of sizzling serves and precision returns that forced Millman running along the baseline. The Serb kept sending sharp returns to deep corners, mixing them with elegant drop shots to force Millman working.
Djokovic fired six aces, never committed double faults, and scored points from 26 of his 30 successful first serves. He never faced a break point, while Millman managed to survive only one of four break points during the match. Djokovic will begin his 2020 season in Brisbane, Rafael Nadal in Perth and Roger Federer in Sydney after Monday's draw for the ATP Cup, the new world tennis team event. The championship, which will take place from January 3-12 in the lead-up to the year's first Grand Slam, the Australian Open in Melbourne, will feature 24 nations split into six groups across Sydney, Brisbane and Perth.
Eight teams -- with up to five players each -- will emerge from the round-robin stage to compete in the knockout phase in Sydney until one is left standing Most of the world's top 30 men will take part, with ties comprising two singles and one doubles match.
At the draw in Sydney, Djokovic's Serbia were pitted against France, South Africa, Germany, Greece, Canada and wildcard entry Australia in Brisbane. Nadal's Spain will face Japan, Georgia, Russia, Italy and the United States in Perth while Federer's Switzerland take on Belgium, Austria, Croatia, Argentina and the Andy Murray-led Britain.
The final five nations in the ATP Cup standings, based on the ranking of their number one singles player, will be determined by the second entry deadline of November 13. The new-look start to the year offers USD15 million in prize money and a maximum of 750 singles and 250 doubles ATP rankings points.