ATP Finals: Novak Djokovic beats Casper Ruud in three sets to start in London

Djokovic beat France’s Gael Monfils in the final in London in 2008 2018 ATP Finals Venue: The O2 Arena, London Dates: 19-27 November Coverage: Live across BBC TV, BBC Radio 5 live sports extra…

ATP Finals: Novak Djokovic beats Casper Ruud in three sets to start in London

Djokovic beat France’s Gael Monfils in the final in London in 2008

2018 ATP Finals Venue: The O2 Arena, London Dates: 19-27 November Coverage: Live across BBC TV, BBC Radio 5 live sports extra and the BBC Sport website with further coverage on Red Button, Connected TVs and app. Click for full times.

World number one Novak Djokovic battled past Casper Ruud in three sets to start his campaign at the ATP Finals.

Djokovic – who looks set to win the 2018 Grand Slam after his French Open victory last month – took the opening set after saving a match point.

After dropping the second, the Serb recovered to win the deciding set in a tie-break.

A different crowd arrived in London for the final stage of the season-ending tournament and their support also helped Djokovic.

The 30-year-old was cheered on by new coach Andre Agassi and some of the crowd chanted “Andre Agassi” during the match – well above the norm for Davis Cup play-off matches in France.

“It was obviously different, as someone said earlier [on Monday] – when my support behind me was three or four times, and for all my rivals it’s just a normal number of times in France,” said Djokovic.

“The atmosphere tonight was just fantastic and I’m really happy I could earn all the way to 3-3 in the third and create opportunities and that I did as opposed to the end of the second set when he played great, hitting his best tennis of the match.

“I have to try to take full use of these moments and emotions in the coming days.”

Djokovic looked heavy in the legs in the early stages against Switzerland’s Ruud, who came from 4-2 down in the second set.

But the two-time champion recovered, forcing a tie-break – when he won in two minutes – to complete his first victory at the season-ending event.

“I tried to move well on the court and it was a process which was challenging at certain points and it was for him also, for sure,” said Djokovic.

“If he was passing me, he played great shots, playing one more good shot and striking every inch of the court, so that made it a very long rallies in the second set.

“I was feeling it too, so I really had to take my chances when they arose and make him pay for that with my serving and finally the points were big and I won them.”

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