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10 most successful players of 2016 Masters 1000 Series

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by Jovica Ilic

Tennis - Some familiar names made the list, as always, but there are no Roger Federer, Stan Wawrinka or Dominic Thiem!

Masters 1000 Series brought almost nothing new in terms of winners, with Djokovic extending his domination at this level of competition. Mighty Serb won another 4 titles, to round up his total tally to 30, something that seemed to be impossible just a half a decade ago! Also, Andy Murray raised his level significantly, conquering 3 tournaments to be on 14, just 3 behind Andre Agassi on the eternal list. Novak and Andy were by far the best players in the Masters this season, far above their rivals who were unable to keep that pace. Rafael Nadal won his first Masters since Madrid 2014, and we finally got a new champion when Marin Cilic won his maiden Masters trophy in Cincinnati.

Marin is the first new champion since Stan Wawrinka in Monte Carlo in 2014, and this was welcomed by everyone who wants to see some shifts and movements at the top of this Series, that has been under the full domination of the Big 4 for almost 10 years. There were some surprises as well, such as Sta Wawrinka, who finished the season ranked 4th on the ATP list, but failed to be among the 10 players with most points collected in Masters in 2016, together with Dominic Thiem. Another big name who missed to find its place in this analyze is Roger Federer, winner of 24 Masters shields, but that was expected, knowing the fact he only played in 2 tournaments. Here is the list of 10 best players of 2016 Masters Series, starting from Tomas Berdych.

#10 TOMAS BERDYCH - 9 Tournaments, 1010 points, 12-9 Score

Tomas Berdych didn't have a season like he would want to, winning one title in Shenzhen but finishing with mediocre 39-20 score. Still, he collected enough points to finish inside the Top 10 for the 7th year in a row, which is a nice accomplishment. In addition, Tomas managed to be one of the best players of Masters 1000 Series as well, ending with 1010 points, that puts him in 10th place. Like usual, Berdych was there to compete in all 9 Masters events, reaching 4 quarter-finals. In what has been a story of his career, Tomas scored some solid wins against lower-ranked rivals, but top players remained an obstacle that he has not been able to pass, losing twice to both Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, without winning at least a set! Novak was too strong in Miami, pushing Berdych's second serve to the limits, breaking him 4 times for a commanding 6-3 6-3 triumph. Damir Dzumhur stunned him in Monte Carlo but Tomas bounced back in Madrid, defeating David Ferrer before he lost to Andy Murray. 

Tomas was pretty much hopeless against inspired Briton, creating no break points and losing his serve 3 times out of 4 chances that Andy created. In Toronto, Tomas came from 5-2 down against Novak in the opening set (he even had 3 break points for a 6-5 lead), but he wasted a 6-3 advantage in the tie break. Novak won the second set 6-4 to prevail in straights. In Paris, Berdych again made his rival working hard to earn the triumph, losing to Andy 7-6 7-5. It was a great display from the Czech player, reminding us of vintage Tomas Berdych, and he could have easily taken the opening set, building a huge 6-1 lead in the tie break. Andy saved no less than 7 set points to steal the set after 66 minutes, but instead of dropping his pace, Tomas continued to fight well, breaking Andy in game 10 of the set number 2 when Briton served for the match, but he couldn't force another tie break, as Murray won the set 7-5 and went to the semi-final. This was the first time since 2009 that Tomas failed to reach at least one Masters 1000 semis during the season.

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