SERBIA DEFEAT SPAIN TO LIFT ATP CUP
Sydney, Australia - Novak Djokovic overpowered Rafael Nadal in leading Serbia to victory in the inaugural ATP Cup final Sunday, capping a perfect build up to his Australian Open title defence. The world No 2 blasted the top-ranked Spaniard off court 6-2, 7-6 (7-4) after world No 10 Roberto Bautista Agut caned Serbian Dusan Lajovic 7-5, 6-1 in the other singles.
A fresh Djokovic returned to Sydney's Ken Rosewall Arena for the deciding doubles but Nadal opted not to, with Feliciano Lopez partnering Pablo Carreno Busta. But they proved no match for Djokovic and Viktor Troicki, who bounced back from a break down in the first set to romp home 6-3, 6-4.
"Every time I get to play Rafa we get to play a lot of exciting points. There were some incredible exchanges today," said Djokovic. "I started off the match perfectly, everything worked. I'm just really glad I held my nerve in the end."
AUCKLAND CLASSIC Serena wins first title in three years
Auckland, New Zealand - Serena Williams ended a three-year title drought and donated her winner's cheque to victims of the Australian bushfires in an emotional WTA Auckland Classic final on Sunday.
Serena raised expectations for this month's Australian Open, where she can equal Margaret Court's record of 24 Grand Slam titles, with her 6-3, 6-4 victory - her first WTA trophy since she won in Melbourne in 2017.
But the 38 year old tempered celebrations as she donated her US$43,000 winners cheque to the Australian bushfire relief fund and described how the tragedy had affected her deeply.
It is Serena's first title since 2017 - and her first as a mother - since she won the Australian Open while pregnant. Her 73 WTA titles now stretch across four decades, after she won her first in 1999.
BRISBANE INTERNATIONAL Pliskova downs Keys in final
Brisbane, Australia - Karolina Pliskova said her tough three-set win over Madison Keys in the final of the Brisbane International on Sunday was the ideal preparation for next week's Australian Open. The Czech world No 2 won 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 in two hours, seven minutes.
QATAR OPEN Rublev claims crown in Doha
Doha, Qatar - Russia's Andrey Rublev defeated Corentin Moutet of France 6-2, 7-6 (7-3) to win the Qatar Open title on Saturday for a third career trophy and a place in the world top 20 for the first time. Rublev, 22, and ranked 23, dominated his world No 81 opponent who had stunned top seed Stan Wawrinka in the semifinals.
Viktor Troicki (left) and Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrate after winning the men's doubles match against Spain in Sydney on Sunday