The Baseline Player of the Week: Novak Djokovic

Russian Karen Khachanov distracted by handbag in loss to Dusan Lajovic

He defeated world No. 1 Rafael Nadal at the ATP Cup final to register his ninth straight hard-court win over the Spanish star, and also recorded victories over Russia's Daniil Medvedev, former Wimbledon finalist Kevin Anderson and talented rising stars Christian Garin and Denis Shapovalov during the competition.

Serbia's Novak Djokovic celebrates winning the decisive doubles match against Pablo Carreno-Busta and Feliciano Lopez of Spain during the final of the ATP Cup on Sunday.

'Off the charts, ' Djokovic said.

"So probably we had the worst situation possible to play this tie".

The inaugural ATP Cup saw its pool matches split between Sydney and Brisbane on the Australian east coast, and Perth on the west coast, which is where Spain was initially stationed.

He added: "Australia is such an fantastic and welcoming country and it feels like home for us at the start of each season". I am excited to be part of it, excited to represent my country.

Facing the prospect of a must-win singles match against the world No.1 to keep Team Serbia alive, Djokovic played an incredible first set against Nadal, forcing the Spaniard to cede enormous territory as he controlled the tempo and dynamic of rallies. "I'm just really glad to hold my nerves again".

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When he found himself under pressure for the only time in the match, in the fifth game of the second set, Djokovic coolly fought off five break points with three baseline winners and two more aces. The noise from the flag-waving Serbian supporters between serves weighed on Nadal, who at one stage gave a sarcastic thumbs-up gesture to his rival's supporters.

The crowd at Ken Rosewall Arena, chanted Serbia, Serbia and Serbia, Nole, Nole, Nole.

But he's now lost 19 straight sets against Djokovic on hard courts in a barren run stretching back to his last victory over the Serb on the surface in the 2013 US Open final.

World number two Novak Djokovic had a strong first half of 2019 winning the Australian Open and Wimbledon, but the U.S. hard court season through year end did not meet the Serbian's lofty standards.

The second set was decided in a tiebreak, ending when Nadal netted a forehand.

John Millman, who picked up 70 rankings points and nearly $177,000, also believes the point system of the ATP Cup is unfair and has called for equal opportunity for all players to be able to qualify for such a prestigious event. They applauded the high standard of tennis while also questioning the wisdom of having back-to-back men's team events, with the Davis Cup completed just weeks before the Sydney event started. Leon Smith led his Davis Cup team to the semi-finals, while Tim Henman led his side to the quarter-finals of the ATP Cup. The Serbian team danced on the centre court, and promised to party with their fans through the night.

His driving groundstrokes and deft touches proved too much with Nadal's serve constantly under siege as Djokovic delivered a booming ace to wrap up the set.

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