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2018 Nitto ATP Finals preview: Novak Djokovic vs John Isner

World No.1, Novak Djokovic will square off against America’s John Isner in the second singles match in Group Guga Keurten on Monday.

Djokovic is seeking a record-equalling sixth Nitto ATP Finals title and will also aim to close the year on a high after a sensational comeback season in which he moved from No. 22 in June to being ranked No.1 in the world. More so, the Serb will end the year as the world number one for the fifth time in his career.

Novak Djokovic received his year-end No.1 trophy at The O2 in London on Sunday.

Djokovic, 32, put together an astonishing second half of the season in which he won Wimbledon, the Cincinnati Masters, the US Open, and the Shanghai Masters as well as reaching the final of the Paris Masters this month, where he fell to Karen Khachanov. In all, the 32-year-old racked up 32 wins out of 34 matches. So stunning are these feats that John Isner has lauded the Serb’s tenacity and is looking forward to their encounter.

“I think it will be really easy[playing Djokovic],” Isner said, amusingly. He is the No. 1 player in the world and has won this event five times.

“He is the player to beat this week, for sure. He had an incredible second half of the year. I am definitely the underdog. I have nothing to lose. Physically I’m fit. I just get out there and let’s see what’s happening.

“I am looking forward to it. The atmosphere will be amazing.”

John Isner is making an appearance at the year-ending event for the first time in his career, earning qualification after Rafael Nadal pulled out due to injury. Isner started the 2018 season poorly, but turned things around by winning his biggest career title at the ATP Masters 1000 event in Miami in April. The 33-year-old then capped off a semifinal run at Wimbledon with the Atlanta Open title in July and then made it to the quarterfinals at the US Open in September; the American seems to be happy with what he’s done so far.

John Isner reached his first ever Grand Slam semis at Wimbledon in July this year.

“I had a very good year to make this event,” the American said.

Djokovic and Isner have played each other ten times, with Djokovic winning eight of those. Their most recent meeting was in 2015, but both men have come a long way since then. However, Isner has labelled Djokovic the favourite here, and in truth, he is. But then, playing against an opponent who already know he has nothing to lose can be very tricky.

Will Djokovic keep up his lethal form and get off to a flying start, or will the big-serving American cause an upset at The O2?

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Adejoh Isaiah

Adejoh Isaiah is a geologist, who's deeply intrigued in sports journalism, with the game of tennis being a major interest. He has a lifelong dream of achieving Grand Slam glory and lives in hope of Jose Mourinho winning the Champions League again. In his free time, he loves to rove.

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