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Novak Djokovic wins Tel Aviv tennis tourney, for 89th career title

Serbian star triumphs over Croatia’s Marin Cilic to claim victory in Watergen Open, his third win at a competition this year

Serbia's Novak Djokovic celebrates with the trophy after winning the men's singles final tennis match at the Tel Aviv Watergen Open 2022, in Israel on October 2, 2022.(Jack Guez/AFP)
Serbia's Novak Djokovic celebrates with the trophy after winning the men's singles final tennis match at the Tel Aviv Watergen Open 2022, in Israel on October 2, 2022.(Jack Guez/AFP)

Novak Djokovic claimed his third title of 2022 and the 89th of his career with an impressive straight-sets victory over Marin Cilic in the Tel Aviv final on Sunday.

The 35-year-old Djokovic triumphed 6-3, 6-4 to add the Israeli trophy to victories in Rome and Wimbledon this season.

It was Djokovic’s 19th win over Cilic in 21 meetings, in a rivalry stretching back to 2008.

Djokovic was playing his first singles tournament since wrapping up a seventh Wimbledon crown and 21st Grand Slam title in July.

He was banned from the US Open and the entire North American hard court swing over his refusal to be vaccinated before returning for Roger Federer’s farewell in the Laver Cup team event in London last month.

On Sunday, Djokovic broke Cilic in the second game of the final and pocketed the first set with a fourth ace after 47 minutes on court.

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic returns the ball to Croatia’s Marin Cilic during the men’s singles final tennis match at the Tel Aviv Watergen Open 2022 in Israel on October 2, 2022. (JACK GUEZ / AFP)

Former US Open winner Cilic, chasing a 21st career title but first of 2022, was broken in the first game of the second set and the 34-year-old never recovered.

The Serb only faced one break point in the final which was clinched in 94 minutes.

Djokovic, who did not drop a set all week, now heads to the Astana ATP tournament, where world number one Carlos Alcaraz takes the top seeding.

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