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Novak Djokovic wins the Tel Aviv Watergen Open finals against Marin Cilic (6/3 6/4) on Sunday, the 3rd of October.

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The Serbian only played 8 tournaments during this year. With the season coming to an end, his goals are clear: to reach the ATP Finals for a fifteenth time. Thanks to his seventh crown in Wimbledon, he only needs to be in the top 20 in the Race-to-Turin.

For several years, Novak Djokovic has been used to participate to the major tournaments. To the delight of his fans, he plays in less prestigious events in 2022. Throughout his week in Tel Aviv, the spectators cheered every point he made. His final against Marin Cilic was no exception to the rule.

The match started with powerful rallies from the back of the court. While the Croatian tried to make the difference with his aggressiveness, Novak Djokovic defended. Both players won their games of serve: 2/1. Lacking first serves and struggling behind the second ones, Marin Cilic gave a break point to his opponent. The Serbian converted the first one after a forehand battle: 3/1. With great authority during his next service games, Djokovic kept his advantage. He won the first set: 6/3.

The second set kept on as the first hour of the match. Novak Djokovic got two early break points. The first one was enough. He made a magnificent return which landed on the baseline: 2/0. The two players raised their level and showed a more entertaining tennis. Marin Cilic demonstrated his offensive skills while Novak Djokovic fought back with his best weapon: his backhand. Very focused, the man with 21 Grand Slam titles seemed to be in total control of the match. Despite the Croatian’s efforts, nothing disturbed Novak Djokovic who kept his break until the end: 6/4.

During this 21st encounter between the two players, ‘the Djoker’ showed his consistency. Thanks to his unbelievable court coverage, he prevented Marin Cilic to dominate the rallies. This last one, out of solutions, took more risks – ending up in unforced errors. Novak Djokovic wasn’t worried during the match. His game plan was crystal clear: to let his opponent play while enforcing his own rhythm. To do so, he used his sliced backhand – as an offensive and defensive shot.

After several months without playing an official game, Novak Djokovic reassured himself. Next, he goes to the Astana Open, Kazakhstan, where he’ll play against a few top 10 players. This tournament, with an exciting draw, is a first test for the former world number one. Will he manage to show the same level of tennis as he did in Wimbledon?

Marnie Abbou  

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