Schwartzman is making his debut here but showed no signs of nerves as he was actually the first to break as Djokovic seemed slow to start. However, it was a short-lived lead, as Djokovic broke back straight away, and started to ease himself more into the match.
He stepped up a gear to break once more before closing out the first set. From there it started to look more like the Djokovic who came into this tournament with only one match lost in all those he completed as he lifted his level to pick up a double-break cushion on his way to a straight sets victory.
Somewhat surprisingly he continued to do his post-match ritual, albeit to a non-existent crowd.
He said, in his post-match press conference: “That’s my gratitude to the court and to this opportunity to be able to compete. I try to remind myself that don’t take things for granted, and that’s kind of one of the routines that reminds me of the things that I have to be aware of.”
“So even though there was no crowd in stands, I know there was a lot of people watching it on TV, so that was me sharing that emotion with them.”
Schwartzman admitted that he could not kick on from a quick start, and despite having more experience against higher ranked players, his momentum was all too quickly halted by Djokovic.
He said, after the match: “That start of the match he was not playing his best. He was doing a few mistakes. I took the chance at the beginning, but then that break back from him I think I did too many mistakes.
“I was playing against the No. 1, so you cannot do that kind of mistakes in the middle of the match and just the start of the match and when you are a break up.”
Both Schwartzman and his fellow debutant Andrey Rublev have had a bit of a baptism of fire with opening losses – a feeling that Djokovic can relate to.
Djokovic continued: “Back in 2007 was my debut in Shanghai, and I lost all three matches actually in the group. I think the format allows you really, even though you lose a match, to still have a chance to qualify for semis, and you have plenty of motivation in terms of points, in terms of financial incentive. Obviously, every match that you win you get to win 200 points, which is almost as winning a 250 event.
“I think there is, as I said, there is plenty of motivation for Diego. I’m sure that he wants to try to play better than he did today.”
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Daniil Medvedev  def. Alexander Zverev  6-3, 6-4
With the round robin matches closing out with another final rematch, Paris champion Daniil Medvedev took on Alexander Zverev in the last of the first round robin matches. This was nothing like that final.
At the start the aggressive play that took Zverev to a two-set lead in the US Open final, saw him break the No. 4 seed in the first game. From that perfect start, Zverev’s serve unravelled at speed as there was little Medvedev had to do but walk from side to side as the double faults and unforced errors racked up.
From that break back, Medvedev looked to settle in what had been a nervy start for both players, breaking once more before sealing the first set.
Finally it looked more like a competitive match in the second set, but Zverev always looked to be the more frail in this encounter, and with a mid-set break in the second set, the Russian coasted to his first win at the Nitto ATP Finals.
Talking on court after his interview, he said: “Confidence is the key, for sure. Winning a Masters always helps for the confidence. I knew that I can play good. It was a little bit shaky from both of us in the beginning from one [point] of view, but from the other [point] of view, I think there were some unbelievable points. To be honest, the intensity of the match was one of the most [intense] I had in my career.”
They will play the second round of the group stages on Wednesday.
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