STOP PRESS: As I signed off we obtained a snip of an interview, by which Djokovic reminded us that his win at present means he ends one more yr – a record-extending eighth – as world primary. Astonishing behaviour!
Up to date at 18.33 EST
Oh, we’re not getting interviews, which suggests that is the tip of that. Thanks rather a lot to your firm and feedback – be a part of us once more tomorrow for extra. Peace out.
The commentators assume that match was a bit higher than I did – it was entertaining, not superb – however the high quality ought to enhance because the gamers settle into competitors and situations. It felt like Djokovic would all the time discover what he wanted to win that – he stepped it up each time he was requested to – and looking out on the discipline, it’s onerous to see anybody apart from Alcaraz stopping him.
Males’s tennis feels in a reasonably first rate spot in the intervening time, contemplating. The best period is over, however Alcaraz is a possible all-timer and a superb matchup for Djokovic, with Sinner and Rune coming. This ought to be a extremely pleasurable week.
Novak Djokovic  beats Holger Rune  7-6(4) (1)6-7 6-3
*Djokovic 7-6(4) (1)6-7 6-3 Rune An enormous serve, 15-0; other than the sport by which he was damaged, Djokovic has solely misplaced one level on serve this set, and one other biggie makes 30-0. An extended rally follows however this time Djokovic wins it – these phrases being typed inform us lots about how nicely Rune’s performed tonight – however a serve out extensive and forehand winner on the web imply he loses to one of the best, once more. That was a extremely absorbing match, and Rune nonetheless has an opportunity of creating it out of the group – although Sinner and Tsitsipas gained’t make that simple.
Up to date at 18.20 EST
Djokovic 7-6(4) (1)6-7 5-3 Rune* In comms, Ronnie Koenig thinks Rune must relax as a result of he’s expending vitality and ruining focus; maybe, however I don’t assume that’s why he’s trailing right here. Anyway, a service-winner out extensive makes 30-15 and a volley raises game-point, however Djokovic retains himself in it with a forehand winner … solely to go lengthy from the again. He’ll should serve for it…
*Djokovic 7-6(4) (1)6-7 5-2 Rune Absolutely Djokovic closes out from right here?! Rune is chatting rather a lot, an indication he form of is aware of the reality, and at 30-15, and ace zips previous him down the T, the gluten-freer making the face of a person who approves of himself. He shortly secures the consolidation, the primary of the match, and Rune should now serve to remain within the match – after jawing on the umpire after they change ends. i believe he’s nonetheless vexed concerning the towels he doesn’t have; “I’m sorry however it’s my judgment,” he’s suggested.
Djokovic 7-6(4) (1)6-7 4-2 Rune* Rune opens the sport with an ace because the clock hits midnight solely to mood it with a double, then an enormous forehand return – the serve is extensive however not extensive sufficient – makes 15-30. Then, on 30-all, Rune sends a backhand fractionally extensive – in equity, the return had first rate depth – then down break level, a luscious drop brings Djokovic in when he’s least anticipating it, the volley to safe deuce additionally a beaut. Rune’s been sensible within the longer rallies – those we assume the champ wins in opposition to everybody – however he’s quickly benefit down when a poor drop permits Djokovic to return in and hit a winner. BUT WHAT IS THAT?! On the run, Rune digs out a forehand winner cross-court … no! The ball drops simply over the sideline, a problem proves it, and Djokovic breaks! He’s two video games away!
*Djokovic 7-6(4) (1)6-7 3-2 Rune Now it’s Djokovic who sprints by a maintain, to fifteen, and I can’t assist however hope we get a breaker to determine this.
Djokovic 7-6(4) (1)6-7 2-2 Rune* ‘It’s a detailed match however not notably good,” messages Coach Calv, which I believe is truthful; the joy is especially coming from well-matched gamers, moderately than superb tennis. It’s, although, a variety of enjoyable, and Rune shortly holds to like.
*Djokovic 7-6(4) (1)6-7 2-1 Rune A double, solely Djokovic’s second of the match, palms Rune 15-all, then one other makes 15-30! Curiouser and curiouser! AND HAVE A LOOK! Rune performs a beautiful level, shortly dashing in to caress a backhand volley for 2 break-back factors! His net-play has been wonderful tonight, because it was final time these two met, and when rune runs round his backhand rto ship a forehand down the road, he frames a winner on to the paint! As such, Djokovic remonstrates with a few rackets – that’ll be taught em – and once more, that’s so careless. The final time he misplaced a breaker to 1 was to Roger Federer … in 2013!
Djokovic 7-6(4) (1)6-7 2-0 Rune* Djokovic will likely be utilizing the nause of that breaker to maintain him going right here and a winner adopted by an error give him 0-30; on the sideline, Bozzer is up encouraging his man. However a forehand down the road, punishing a brief strategy, raises three break factors; a serve then clean-up forehand saves the primary. However the strain is simply too nice and Rune, trying to reverse the scenario by going for a second serve, as a substitute completes a double, probably ruining two hours’ onerous work in three minutes.
“Now we have now a 3rd set throughout which to cross the time,” returns Richard Hirst, “how a couple of new class of sportsperson I’d least prefer to spend an evening within the pub with? I reckon Djokovic can be a shoo-in for that, even above Cristiano Ronaldo. Who would come third?”
I can consider a former England spinner who doesn’t fairly tickle my fancy, however truly assume Djokovic can be good firm, although I don’t love his shtick. If he may cease stretching for lengthy sufficient.
*Djokovic 7-6(4) (1)6-7 1-0 Rune Righto mates, eyes down for the decider, Djokovic to serve first. Actual discuss, I’m nonetheless reeling from how tamely he donated that breaker, however he’s proper again at it, holding to like; there’s nothing like a little bit of embarrassment to focus the thoughts.
Rune takes the second set 7-6(1)
Djokovic 7-6(4) (1)6-7 Rune Rune nets a forehand, handing Djokovic his first level of the breaker, then a return goes lengthy, and we’ve obtained waselves the decider Rune, this match and our lives deserve. That is nice stuff: Rune has it.
Up to date at 17.40 EST
Djokovic 7-6(4) 6-6 Rune (0-6) Very good stuff from Rune, who dictates the following rally, ending it charing in to unleash a forehand winner, despatched hurtling down the road … then Djokovic slaps a careless backhand extensive, and that is almost over! When was the final time we noticed this?!
Djokovic 7-6(4) 6-6 Rune (0-4) No approach! On the web, Djokovic runs round his forehand, solely to dump a easy putaway! There’s yer unforced error, and it cedes the primary mini-break on the first time of asking, then a netted forehand palms Rune one other! Earlier this yr he went 55 straight breaker factors with out one, now he’s made two on the spin, rune cementing the benefit with an ace!
*Djokovic 7-6(4) 6-6 Rune Djokovic shortly makes 30-0, the ball dying on Djokovic when it hits the road – he does nicely to regulate and get it again – just for Rune to border his riposte. However a banging return offers him a glimmer … shortly extinguished by way of ace … and one other ace. You’ve obtained to snicker, what a ridiculous particular person this ridiculous particular person is. Can Rune power the problem within the breaker, realizing Djokovic didn’t make a single unforced error within the final one; realizing Djokovic virtually all the time wins them?
Up to date at 17.32 EST
Djokovic 7-6(4) 5-6 Rune* Rune shanks a forehand approach extensive to provide Djokovic 15-all, and it’d be typical him to interrupt now; he’s some extent nearer when a double makes 15-30; p-r-e-s-s-u-r-e. So Rune clobbers down an ace then finds a beautiful backhand winner from centre to nook – earlier than handing the ref a ball on which he’s not eager. It doesn’t assist, Djokovic dominating the following rally, a longun, earlier than forcing deuce with a forehand winner and this has been a extremely good contest; not one thing we are saying usually about matches that includes the goat. Anyroad, Rune needs to take his time earlier than serving once more, accepting his warning for working down the clock, then finds himself marooned on the web, doing so nicely to stay within the level … then Djokovic, anticipating an extended one will get a brief one and he slips! How did rune keep in that time? It regarded for a second just like the champ was a cert for benefit, however as a substitute he’s now sitting down previous to serving to remain in set two, Rune spiriting a half-volley down the road for a winner.
Up to date at 17.40 EST
*Djokovic 7-6(4) 5-5 Rune At change of ends, Rune has some backwards and forwards with the umpire about towels – I believe he needs greater than he has – then up 15-0, Djokovic surprisingly wipes an inside-out forehand extensive … then a unfastened backhand down the road offers 15-30! Rune is 2 factors away from forcing a decider! Yeah, good luck with that previous mate. Djokovic dominates the following level, ending it with an overhead … however then Rune annihilates a backhand down the road to boost his first set-point! Yeah, about that: a terrific serve out extensive shortly extinguishes the chance, a forehand then a backhand into the identical nook make benefit, and when Rune goes lengthy the maintain is safe. Djokovic is tougher to kill than Rasputin.
Djokovic 7-6(4) 4-5 Rune* Djokovic shortly makes 0-15, however very shortly afterwards, a service-winner down the T and it’s 30-15; within the crowd, a kind of massive tennis balls explodes, then one other service-winner down the T raises two game-points; he takes the second when Djokovic nets a return, and this set is true within the steadiness.
*Djokovic 7-6(4) 4-4 Rune Oh man! Djokovic’s volley to the nook isn’t ok however Rune’s riposte – a forehand cross cross-court, on the run, is colossal and makes 15-all. Then, at 30-15, an enormous return is backed up by a succession of violent forehands … so Djokovic performs a beautiful volley, then spanks an ace down the center. He’s fairly good at tennis, and the strain is again on Rune.
Up to date at 17.13 EST
Djokovic 7-6(4) 3-4 Rune* Rune bashes down an ace for 40-0, then one other monster secures his maintain, and the strain is again on the champ – and, as we zoom in on him at change of ends, we be aware but once more that his hairline is much more spectacular than his tennis.
*Djokovic 7-6(4) 3-3 Rune A love-hold, together with an ace, offers Rune no respite, however he’s nonetheless serving fairly nicely so Djokovic must do one thing first rate to interrupt him.
Djokovic 7-6(4) 2-3 Rune* Up 30-15, Rune offers Djokovic a glance artwork a second serve … however nonetheless hits it onerous, and the return flies lengthy. A greater effort, although, touchdown close to the baseline, forces the error … so Rune bangs down an ace to safe an enormous maintain.
*Djokovic 7-6(4) 2-2 Rune Djokovic slams down a serve for 15-0, then a return soars lengthy, and already you surprise if that final sport was the start of the tip. At 40-0, although, Rune finds a sensational forehand winner down the road and on the run, then Djokovic nets a backhand; at 40-30, there’s a glimmer. Shortly extinguished by way of massive serve and perfunctory putaway. This subsequent sport is a biggun.
Djokovic 7-6(4) 1-2 Rune* Djokovic thinks he’s landed one on to the road however it’s known as out and proven to be out on problem; subsequent level, he chases down a drop and curves a forehand winner cross-court for 30-all. However from the nook, he sends a backhand extensive … then makes deuce when Rune palms him a double. Ach, a tame backhand into the online then presents Djokovic with benefit – in comms, they assume he must calm himself – and he responds with an ace. Regardless of: Djokovic lands a ball onto the baseline, Rune’s sure it’s nicely out, challenges … and the fuzz should’ve been mohican, as a result of it’s outermost fibre is on the paint! Benefit Djokovic, who dominates the following rally, an extended, brutal expletive, however he can’t end it, and a murderous forehand down the road brings Rune again to deuce! Djokovic, although, isn’t arsed, hauling Rune to the online the place he doesn’t do sufficient together with his first volley, so is handed in brief order; break level quantity three developing! AND THERE IT IS! A tremendous return places Djokovic accountable for the rally and a forehand winner has him noising up the gang, ensuring Rune is aware of precisely what he’s simply carried out. Once more, the break-back is quick.
*Djokovic 7-6(4) 0-2 Rune Rune is available in once more and Djokovic nets a forehand for 15-30; whenever you’re enjoying him, this constitutes an opportunity. And now it actually does! One other error from the champ, this time on the backhand, and right here comes a break level; you get the sensation Rune can’t afford to spurn this – or, certainly, have it spurned for him – AND HE DOESN’T! One other blinding forehand return is simply too good, far too good, and that’s the break! However can he maintain onto it this time?
Djokovic 7-6(4) 0-1 Rune* Rune returns and we be taught that Djokovic took the breaker with out making a single unforced error; in fact he did. However the child is straight again into stride, holding to fifteen.
Rune steps out of court docket. When he returns, he’ll discover that he’s nonetheless a set down, and the person on the opposite aspect of the online remains to be Novak Djokovic.
Djokovic takes the primary set 7-6(4)
Rune saves one set-point, however a blistering forehand return sizzles cross-court, and that is going precisely as we anticipated it to. Djokovic’s sturdiness and temperament are simply off the size.
Up to date at 16.51 EST
Djokovic 6-6 Rune (6-3) Rune is available in behind a second serve – he’s doing all he can to power the tempo – and Djokovic batters away from the again until he finds the cross for the double-mini. This set is sort of over, however as I kind Rune seizes again one break then will get a take a look at a second serve … however when it actually actually issues, Djokovic ups the tempo and he goes at it onerous, the return touchdown lengthy; three set-points developing.
Djokovic 6-6 Rune (4-2) Djokovic is 28-6 on breakers for the season and gained in Paris with out dropping one, however he’s shortly behind right here when Rune coaxes a backhand winner down the road; the mini-break is snatched again instantly. Then, at 2-2 Rune slaps a backhand simply extensive – that was an opportunity – and what’s coming subsequent: one other extensive backhand and Djokovic has the mini-break. After an hour 15 of onerous yakka, Rune is about to see all of it go to waste.
Up to date at 16.21 EST
Djokovic 6-6 Rune* Ooooh! Djokovic is a crafty bounder, sending a lob again down the road early, when Rune thought he’d chase it; the ball drops lengthy, simply. Djokovic, although, finds a lob of his personal that provides him 15-30 and once more, he’s two factors away from the set, however Rune shortly ranges the sport and a forehand swiped extensive takes him some extent away from a breaker; an enormous serve down the center, a netted return, and right here it comes! Djokovic is alright at these…
We’re in Turin for this match, greater than sufficient excuse for me to insist you don’t miss the under from Milan:
Up to date at 16.17 EST
*Djokovic 6-5 Rune An excellent lob makes 15-0, an ace on to the road 30-0. However then at 40-15, Rune hits a booming forehand to the nook, then skids in to chop a backhand volley drop from under the extent of the online; Djokovic can solely applaud and we transfer to deuce. Nevertheless a serve out extensive then facilitates the putaway, and an enormous first server elicits the netted return; Rune should now maintain for first-set breaker.
*Djokovic 5-5 Rune At change of ends, the ump tells Djokovic to keep watch over how lengthy he’s taking to serve, and Djokovic complains he cant’t see the shot-clock correctly; they form of agree the purpose. And, in equity, it’s not like this can be a grievance Djokovic has fielded earlier than. Again on court docket, Djokovic shortly makes 0-30 so, two factors away from dropping the set, Rune is beneath strain; he’s not bothered. First, he makes a primary serve and a backhand return drops lengthy, halving the deficit, then he involves the online and steers a backhand volley into the nook. Very good work! And from there, he shortly secures his maintain, sealed with an ace.
*Djokovic 5-4 Rune Down 0-40, Rune will get a take a look at a second serve leaning to his forehand … and slams again a bachkand winner! Then, when Djokovic picks the incorrect aspect on the web, directing his topspin putaway immediately at his opponent, the ball’s hurtling again previous him earlier than he can draw again his racket. And take a look! Rune outlasts Djokovic within the longest rally of the match to this point, 21 strokes, an unforced error handing him deuce, and if he may break right here, that basically would make a press release. Yeah, simply. Djokovic closes out in brief order, and this is a wonderful contest.
“On a purely statistical foundation,” emails Simon McMahon, “Bradman tops the listing. However statistics solely inform half the story. The opposite three-quarters are what actually matter.”
Up to date at 16.00 EST
Djokovic 4-4 Rune* This sport is now a check for Rune, and he opens it with an ace down the T, then a Djokovic lob sails lengthy for 40-0 … and a fully leaping, supersonic forehand secures the love-hold. Hitting the ball that arduous is against the law in some international locations.
Up to date at 17.14 EST
*Djokovic 4-3 Rune At 30-15, Djokovic decides there’s a ball he doesn’t like, so he will get one other and hammers down a winner; his late-career growth into one of many nice servers is a ridiculous wrinkle in an already completely ridiculous profession, and comparable supply secures the sport. The champ is again in entrance.
Djokovic 3-3 Rune* Djokovic shortly makes 0-30 however Rune finds a lush drop to halve the arrears, then an enormous serve out extensive ranges issues. A double, although, takes us to deuce, then a netted volley from under the tape palms over a break-back level; a weak drop completes the deal and who, aside from everybody, noticed that coming? I ponder what number of occasions in his profession Djokovic has damaged again instantly; my guess can be greater than another participant.
“PS” returns Richard Hirst, “And in order for you the statistical finest, how about Jahangir Khan, with 555 straight victories?”
I bear in mind when he misplaced to Jansher – as I do when the supremely-named Danny Harris beat Edwin Moses after 102 consecutive wins.
*Djokovic 2-3 Rune Down 0-15, Djokovic flicks an indirect backhand throughout the face of the online, flicks the twine, and lands the ball on the road; the dominates, the luckier he will get. However Rune then punishes again a second serve – he’s attacking that at each alternative – and when Djokovic nets a backhand, he has two break factors! Djokovic, clearly, shortly saves each, the second with a basic forehand to nook adopted by overhead putaway, then a service-winner raises game-point … just for him to ship down a double! Now then! A wafty, floaty volley palms Rune a passing alternative which he doesn’t flip down, then a shanked forehand cross-court drops extensive, and Rune get the break to hit the entrance! He’s loving this!
“If the GOAT debate is pointless inside a sport,” grouses Richard Hirst, “how far more pointless is it between totally different sports activities and between totally different generations? The statistical hole between Don Bradman and the remaining is far better than the statistical hole between Djokovic and Federer/Nadal so you may perhaps make a judgment on that. However what about sports activities the place there isn’t a simple statistical comparability: in soccer how do you evaluate a goalkeeper/defender/attacker? Let’s simply take pleasure in (or in Djokovic’s case fulminate in opposition to) the greats on their very own phrases.”
Why? It’s just a bit chat to cross the time.
Djokovic 2-2 Rune* Our courtside reporter notes that Becker’s calmness is radiating to Rune, and the 2 have a extremely shut relationship; that’s good to listen to. Meantime, a forehand winner down the road offers Rune 15-all, then a ball on the road and an ace comply with. However when one other massive serve opens the court docket, Rune picks the incorrect aspect, leaving Djokovic oceans into which to faucet a backhand winner; massive level developing. And simply because it appears to be swinging Djokovic’s approach, he swipes extensive and Rune secures his maintain.
*Djokovic 2-1 Rune Up 15-0, Djokovic outhits Rune from the again in exactly the sort of level the younger pretender must keep away from. A serve out extensive to the forehand shortly makes 40-0, and although Rune finds a winner to shut, a topsoin forehand down the road secures the maintain.
Djokovic 1-1 Rune* Although he’s solely 20, Rune has crushed each participant within the draw this week, and he holds to fifteen, sealing the sport with an ace. That is boiling properly, or Djokovic eases to a 7-5 6-3 win; undoubtedly one of many two.
“And Carl Lewis and Micheal Johnson?” wonders James Robinson. I’m undecided we will permit Lewis as a result of we’ve obtained Bolt; we’d additionally omit Johnson on that foundation/
*Djokovic 1-0 Rune (*denotes server) Rune begins with a backhand winner down the road, sending Djokovic’s serve hurtling straight again previous him, then sticks within the subsequent rally lengthy sufficient for Djokovic to web. Ahahahaha, for all the great it does him! Djokovic takes the following 4 factors to carry – although Rune is completely clubbing it/
Up to date at 16.52 EST
Rune is puling up his shorts; Djokovic to serve; and play.
Rune’s shorts are brief. I’ve not concept how they’re cozy, however you may’t put a value on fashion.
Right here come our gamers!
E mail! “As a die onerous Federer fan,” writes Max Williams, “I settle for the talk ended some time in the past for tennis. It’s now the place does Novak price when it comes to one of the best sportsperson. Him, Bolt, Bradman, Biles are the names I can consider who’re clearly one of the best to have carried out it of their respective fields. Certain there are others. Ali nonetheless stands alone as the best particular person to have participated in sport which isn’t fairly the identical.”
Er, Ronnie O’Sullivan, Phil Taylor, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Wayne Gretzky, michael Jordan and Michael Phelps are additionally within the dialog, I suppose.
We’re watching footage of the gamers warming up, Rune displaying off his legs. Djokovic is sporting three totally different shades of inexperienced, like a mid-00s goalie.
In interview. Djokovic notes that psychological power is certainly one of his greatest weapons, rhapsodising a fantastic yr and reminding those that’ve forgotten that he gained each match he performed at this match final time period. Little question he’s humbled by all of the success he’s had.
Up to date at 14.55 EST
Anybody care to inform me what’s occurring?
Of what number of majors are we stripping him for this monstrosity?
Aha, we’ve obtained some protection – beforehand, we’d been knowledgeable the beginning can be “round 8pm”.
I think about Rune will likely be doing every little thing he can to maintain factors brief, in search of serve plus one: he gained’t simply wish to hit his spot, he’ll wish to arrange an enormous forehand for his second shot. Djokovic will do what he often does, however I think about he’ll get Rune on the bike then search for winners from the again and the occasional drop.
I ponder if, as soon as Djokovic has turned it in, Rune will likely be Carlos Alcaraz’s most important challenger. Alcaraz doesn’t take pleasure in enjoying Sinner, who also can assault him with energy, and Rune may transfer higher. We will see…
Common readers will likely be aware of Coach Calvin Betton, who reckons as follows: “Rune causes Djokovic issues as a result of he’s so aggressive and has a ridiculous self-belief. He’s crushed him a couple of occasions. However he’s additionally not in nice type. Think about Djokovic sees him off, however Rune can hit by him. He hits flat and onerous so doesn’t give Djokovic a pure form of ball that he likes to play off. And most significantly he thinks he’s higher than him.”
Night all and welcome to the ATP Tour finals – day 1! Already at present, we’ve loved Jannik Sinner – this weblog’s outsider for this title – take care of Stefanos Tsitsipas, and now we’re about to see Holger Rune have a hack at Novak Djokovic.
Rune is, in fact, a terrific participant and prospect, however maybe his greatest power is his unshakeable certainty that he’s the best participant of all time – a way that’s unlikely to have been diluted by the appointment of Boris Becker as his coach. So he gained’t be fazed by dealing with the second best ever – who wanted three units to beat him in Paris final week – and if Rune’s power-game is working, this will likely be a extremely enjoyable match.
Djokovic, although, is, nicely, Djokovic; how else to explain a novel freak of nature completely not like anything ever seen in any sport? Almost definitely, he repels no matter Rune has to supply, offers with the remainder of the sphere in brief order, and ends a three-Slam season by defending this title earlier than chuckling on the mind-boggling extent of his brilliance and humility. However don’t write off Rune: he believes he can do that and if Djokovic isn’t bang at it – sure, sure, I do know – he’s a superb likelihood of creating one thing occur.
Play: 9pm native, 8pm GMT