World No.7 Novak Djokovic clinched the Astana Open men’s singles title after beating Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3, 6-4 in the final, here on Sunday.
It was the ninth consecutive match victory for the fourth seed Djokovic, who won the title a week ago in Tel Aviv. This was the 90th tour-level title for the 35-year-old and it required only 75 minutes.
For the third-seeded Greek Tsitsipas, it was the ninth time he played in an ATP 500 final — and the ninth time he came up empty. Djokovic now leads their ATP head-to-head series 8-2 and has won the past seven.
As a result of the win, the Serbian star secures himself a Top 20 spot in the ATP Live Race to Turin after the 2022 Paris Masters, meaning the reigning Wimbledon champion qualifies for the 2022 ATP Finals as a current-year Grand Slam winner. It was the 90th career tour-level title for Djokovic and the fourth of 2022.
When the on-court interviewer observed that Djokovic probably never dreamed of 90 ATP Tour titles, Djokovic shook his head.
“I dared to dream, actually. I always hoped that I would be going to have a great career,” he corrected.
“Obviously, I didn’t know the number of finals I was going to play, the amount of tournaments I was going to win, but my intention was always to reach the highest heights in our sport,” he added.
Tsitsipas will return to the Top 5 in the ATP Rankings on Monday and the 24-year-old Greek still leads all ATP Tour players with 53 match wins.
Djokovic began the match with an extraordinary level of play, winning the first game at love in a little over one minute. With Tsitsipas serving at 3-4, the 21-time major champion turned up the heat.
Employing the drop shot that undid Daniil Medvedev in a semi-final tie-break, Djokovic went on to create the only break point of the first set. After Tsitsipas over-hit a forehand, Djokovic served it out, finishing a flourish – an ace outside.
Djokovic scored another break in the fifth game of the second set when a frustrated Tsitsipas attempted a drop shot that fell into the net. Later, Djokovic converted his third match point with a backhand winner into an open court.
“I’m just very grateful and blessed to be able to play this well at this stage of my life,” said Djokovic.
“You know, 35 is not 25. But I think the experience, probably, in these kinds of matches and big occasions helps as well to approach mentally in the right way,” he added.