Novak Djokovic crushed Jannik Sinner's dreams of a fairytale ATP World Tour Finals triumph in front of the home crowd as he stormed to a record seventh year-end championship crown in Turin.
The 36-year-old - who was the defending ATP Finals champion - had been beaten by the fourth seed during the round-robin stage, which saw him qualify for the semi-finals in second place in the Green group.
However, after comfortably dispatching Carlos Alcaraz in the final four, Djokovic produced another trademark merciless display to sink Sinner 6-3 6-3 and take home an unprecedented seventh ATP Finals crown.
The Serbian - who also cemented the year-end number one ranking at the start of the competition - entered the 2023 tournament level with Roger Federer on a joint-high six year-end titles, but he has now surpassed his Swiss foe into a league of his own.
Djokovic's ATP Finals victory marked his seventh ATP Tour success of 2023, in a year where he also came up trumps at the Australian Open, US Open, French Open, Cincinnati Masters, Paris Masters and Adelaide International, and the Serbian believes that he will look back on the season as one of the best in his career.
"It's one of the best seasons I've had in my life, no doubt," Djokovic said on the court after his win on Sunday. "To crown it with a win against a hometown hero in Jannik, who has played amazing tennis this week, is phenomenal.
"I'm very proud of the performances these past two days against Alcaraz and Sinner, probably the best two players in the world next to me and Medvedev at the moment — and the way they have been playing, I had to step it up.
"I had to win the matches and not wait for them to hand me the victory and that's what I've done. I think I played different tactically than I did in the group stage against Jannik, and just overall it was a phenomenal week."
An immediate love hold with a pair of aces from Djokovic was a harbinger of doom for Sinner, who lost his serve in the fourth game of the match and did not bring up a single opportunity to break the champion back in the opener.
Unforced errors were also bedevilling the 22-year-old - who was the first Italian to reach the knockout stages of the ATP Finals - and his uphill climb became more difficult when Djokovic broke to love in the first game of the second set.
Sinner built up a 40-15 lead on Djokovic's serve in the sixth game, but the Italian could not capitalise on those openings and capitulated while serving to stay in the match, committing three unforced errors before handing Djokovic the title on a double fault.
Amid Sinner's serving mistakes, Djokovic registered a whopping 13 aces and won 91% of points on his first serve in an exceptional performance, and he ends the 2023 season with 55 victories to his name.
Only Ken Rosewall in 1970 and 1973 also registered at least 55 ATP Tour wins in a season at the age of 35 or over, while Djokovic has now drawn level with Federer on a record 71 hard-court ATP Tour tournament triumphs excluding Grand Slams.No Data Analysis info