By Martyn Herman
LONDON (Reuters) – Diego Schwartzman suffered a similar fate to compatriot ATP final debutant Andrey Rublev the night before, as the Argentine was sidelined by five-time champion Novak Djokovic on Monday.
Russian Rublev barely put a glove on 20-time Grand Slam champion Rafa Nadal in a straight sets loss and Schwartzman seemed equally powerless to prevent a sixth loss in six games with the Djokovic clinic, declining 6-3 6-2.
The Serb gave up his serve very early at the virtually empty O2 Arena, where he received ATP’s number one end-of-year award on Sunday for a record-breaking sixth time.
But from that moment on he was immaculate.
He snapped immediately and then leapt again when Schartzman served at 3-4, outshining his opponent before pushing a forehand winner back into the corner.
With no fans in the 18,000-person arena to rally behind the Argentinian underdog, world number nine Schwartzman never seemed able to turn the Tokyo group’s opening game into a match.
Djokovic secured two breaks in the second set and took the win with minimal fuss.
“I was very happy with the way I played in the second set when I started kicking the ball,” Djokovic said from the field.
“It was tight, I think, until I broke at 4-3. It was tough for Diego, first game in the arena, he maybe didn’t play his best in the last ones. moments of the first set. “
The 33-year-old world number one is trying to win the title for the first time since 2015 and will tie Roger Federer’s six.
Later Monday, 2018 champion Alexander Zverev will face Russian Daniil Medvedev.
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