London: Novak Djokovic made a flying start to his bid for a record fourth successive ATP Tour Finals title as the defending champion routed Japan's Kei Nishikori 6-1, 6-1 yesterday.
Serbia's Novak Djokovic reacts after beating Japan's Kei Nishikori during their men's singles group stage match at the ATP World Tour Finals in London yesterday. Pic/AFP
Djokovic has arrived at London's O2 Arena hoping to win the prestigious season-ending event for a fifth time and in the process become the first player to lift the trophy four years in a row.
The world number one showed why he is the firm favourite to do just that, demolishing Nishikori in 65 minutes in the tournament's opening match to record his 23rd successive win and his 79th victory in 84 matches this year.
With two more group ties remaining against six-time champion Roger Federer and Tomas Berdych, who meet later on Sunday, Djokovic's stroll by the banks of the River Thames was a significant statement of intent to his rivals for the title.
This year has been a golden period for the 10-time Grand Slam winner, who has cemented his position as the sport's pre-eminent force with one of the best single seasons in the Open era.
Since losing to Roger Federer in the Cincinnati final in August, Djokovic has been unbeatable and Nishikori never came close to inflicting his first Tour Finals defeat in 15 matches.
Just before the match started, Djokovic and Nishikori joined the capacity 17,500 crowd in a minute's silence in memory of the victims of the horrific Paris attacks, with the French flag displayed on screens above and around the court.