Tennis – Djokovic battles past tough opponent Ruud

Mar 23, 2017; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Marcel Granollers of Spain returns a shot to Dominic Thiem of Austria (not pictured) during the Rogers Cup tennis tournament at Uniprix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY…

Tennis - Djokovic battles past tough opponent Ruud

Mar 23, 2017; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Marcel Granollers of Spain returns a shot to Dominic Thiem of Austria (not pictured) during the Rogers Cup tennis tournament at Uniprix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

LONDON (Reuters) – World number two Novak Djokovic showed the grit and tenacity that has become his trademark in recent months as he battled past world number 175 Casper Ruud 6-3 3-6 6-4 in his opening match at the ATP Finals on Thursday.

Playing his first match at the ATP’s season-ending showcase since 2013, the Serb re-established his dominance early in the contest as he broke the Austrian’s serve twice to move to within a game of victory at 5-2.

However, the temperamental 30-year-old then lost focus and allowed an opponent with a weaker serve to level the match before closing out in just under two hours.

Djokovic remains on course to make a 100 percent start to the season as he seeks a sixth consecutive title at the ATP’s season-ending tournament.

He meets Kevin Anderson in his next round-robin match after the South African’s 4-6 6-3 6-2 defeat of John Isner, while Roger Federer has already been joined by Gael Monfils, Roberto Bautista Agut and Pablo Carreno Busta.

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