Novak Djokovic claimed his third title of 2022 and 89th of his career with an impressive straight-sets victory over 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic 6-3 6-4 to win Tel Aviv tennis tourney.
The 35-year-old Djokovic triumphed 6-3, 6-4 to add the Israeli trophy to victories in Rome and Wimbledon this season.
As part of a rivalry that dates back to 2008, it was Djokovic’s 19th victory over Cilic in 21 encounters.
Djokovic was competing in his first singles since winning his 21st Grand Slam title and seventh Wimbledon championship in July.
Due to his unwillingness to get immunized, he was barred from the US Open and the entire North American hard-court season. He later returned for Roger Federer’s farewell match in the Laver Cup team competition in London last month.
On Sunday, after spending 47 minutes on the court, Djokovic broke Cilic in the second game of the tournament final.
The 34-year-old Cilic, a former US Open champion who was vying for his 21st career victory but his first of 2022, was broken in the opening game of the second set and never recovered.
In the championship match, the Serb only encountered one break point, which was won in 94 minutes.
Novak Djokovic is the fifth man to win three or more tour-level titles this year; but the other four players have won all of their titles on just hard or clay. This victory also made him the first man to win a tour-level title on every surface this year. He won Rome on clay, Wimbledon on grass and now Tel Aviv on hard courts.
Djokovic, who didn’t drop a set all week, now heads to the Astana ATP tournament.