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Djokovic wins his ninth match as Tsitsipas loses his ninth ATP

October 09, 2022 22:46 IST
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Novak Djokovic poses with a trophy after winning the men's singles final against Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas

IMAGE: Novak Djokovic poses with a trophy after winning the men's Astana Open final against Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas. Photograph: Pavel Mikheyev/Reuters

Novak Djokovic lifted the Astana Open trophy in Kazakhstan, after sealing a comfortable 6-3 6-4 victory over third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas on Sunday.

The Serbian Wimbledon champion extended his win streak to nine, wrapping up the final in 75 minutes without facing a break point and booked his place at next month's ATP Finals.

"I'm just very grateful and blessed to be able to play this well at this stage of my life," Djokovic told reporters.

 

It was the fourth title of the year, for 35-year-old Djokovic and the 90th tour-level trophy of his career.

"Obviously, I didn't know the number of finals I was going to play, the number of tournaments I was going to win, but my intention was always to reach the highest heights in our sport," Djokovic added.

Greek Tsitsipas has now lost all nine ATP 500 finals he has reached.

Meanwhile, at the Japan Open, Taylor Fritz beat fellow American Frances Tiafoe 7-6(3) 7-6(2) in a tense final on Sunday and claimed his third title of the year.

Taylor Fritz of the U.S. celebrates with the trophy after winning the men's singles final against Frances Tiafoe

IMAGE: Taylor Fritz with the trophy after winning the Japan Open. Photograph: Androniki Christodoulou/Reuters

The two 24-year-olds traded breaks in the opening set before the greater consistency of Fritz took him ahead in the tiebreak, and he secured it with a cracking forehand, breaking his opponent's streak of 13 tiebreak wins.

The second set was equally intense as Fritz's serve proved impenetrable, while Tiafoe bravely defended several break point chances inside Tokyo's Ariake Coliseum.

In the tiebreak, Fritz raced into a 6-2 lead with relentless power and accuracy before sealing victory when Tiafoe's forehand went out.

Fritz, who will enter the top 10 in the world rankings on Monday for the first time, dropped his racket and let out a roar after boosting his chances to qualify for November's ATP Finals in Turin, Italy.

"It's crazy, and I couldn't have written it any better," he said after wrapping up the victory in, just under two hours.

"It's exactly what I needed for the Race, for my ranking, to kind of, put me in a good position for the end of the year," he said.

Fritz, the 10th American to win the Japan Open title and the first since Pete Sampras in 1996, also won titles in Eastbourne and Indian Wells this year.

He was in a week-long quarantine in South Korea after contracting COVID-19 and flew to Tokyo on Wednesday, the morning of his first match at the Japan Open.

Tiafoe, Fritz's Laver Cup teammate, still awaits his first title this year but will climb two spots to a career-high 17th in the rankings.

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Source: REUTERS
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