By Victor Kanayo
Tennis star Novak Djokovic on Tuesday night suffered a defeat for the first time in as much as 19 matches after Jannik Sinner took the day in their group ATP finals.
At the end of the three-hour intense firepower, Sinner roared to a superb 7-5 6-7 (5) 7-6 (2) victory.
Sinner, dubbee home favourites and 14 years Djokovic’s junior, wrapped up his first career win against the 24-time Grand Slam champion with a smash – prompting deafening roars from a sell-out crowd who produced an electrifying atmosphere throughout.
Sinner, Djokovic and Rune could all still end up with two wins each in a group that is too close to call.
Sinner has enjoyed his best year on Tour and now has 59 match wins in 2023, but none would have given him more pleasure than taking down six-time ATP Finals champion Djokovic.
The Italian moved 2-0 ahead in the deciding tiebreak with a rocket of a forehand return and then gave himself daylight with another forehand winner to make it 3-0.
With the win, he has moved top of the group but is not yet guaranteed a semi-final spot ahead of his final round-robin match against Rune on Thursday when Djokovic, who will end tnohe year as number one for a record-stretching eighth time, plays alternate Hubert Hurkacz.
Earlier, Stefanos Tsitsipas lasted just three games of his second Green Group match of the tournament against Rune before pulling out with injury.