Paris 2015: Novak Djokovic tops Andy Murray for the historic fourth title


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Paris 2015: Novak Djokovic tops Andy Murray for the historic fourth title

After three years break, Novak Djokovic reclaimed the title in Paris in 2013 and he became the first player who defended the crown here a year later, beating Milos Raonic in the final after a dominant performance. In arguably his best season ever, Novak Djokovic claimed 11 titles in 2015, winning 82 out of 88 matches that season to leave his rivals far behind and he lifted his fourth crown in Paris to become the most successful player at this event! After winning Wimbledon, Novak was beaten in the final of Montreal and Cincinnati before rattling off 22 straight wins to conquer the US Open, Beijing, Shanghai and Paris, losing four sets during this campaign and proving once again his brilliance on the hard courts, both outdoor and indoor.

Following wins over Thomaz Bellucci and Gilles Simon, Novak entered the quarter-final in Paris and the rest of the tournament was anything but easy for him, facing three Top 5 players en route to the title. Tomas Berdych pushed Novak into two tie breaks in the quarters and Stan Wawrinka took a set away from him in the semis before Novak served a bagel in the decider to set up the title match against Andy Murray (Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal were beaten before the semis).

This was the seventh encounter between Novak and Andy in 2015 and the Serb won six of those matches, scoring a 6-2 6-4 win in an hour and 33 minutes for his 26th Masters 1000 title. In addition, they played their 30th match on the Tour and Djokovic secured the 21st win, facing just one break point and dominated on the return to control the scoreboard all the time.

Murray converted that lone break point he earned but that was far from enough for a more positive result, dropping 50% of the points in his games and suffering four breaks from nine chances he gave to Novak. The Serb won 13 out of 18 points on the second serve and Murray could have only dreamed about similar numbers behind his initial shot, serving at 54% and making too many errors in order to break Novak's defense and find an open space for his groundstrokes.

Djokovic had 10 winners and 12 unforced errors, which wasn't perfect but surely better than Andy could hit 20 winners but also 34 unforced errors. The crucial element in Novak's win was his performance in the mid-range rallies where he completely outplayed Murray and seal the deal in straight sets.

Murray held with a forehand winner in the opening game of the match and Novak responded with a hold at love in game two to get his name on the scoreboard. He didn't lose a point in the third game as well, breaking Murray at love after moving his rival over the baseline before forcing an error that gave him a break.

Andy had to dig deep in the fifth game as well, repelling three break points to remain within one break deficit before he netted a routine forehand in game seven to give his serve away once again and send Novak 5-2 in front.

The Serb held at 30 in the following game after another unforced error from Murray, sealing the set in 42 minutes and hoping for more of the same in the rest of the match. The Briton had to save a break point at the start of the second set as well but Djokovic found the way to break him in the third game after another marvelous point from the baseline that pushed Andy to cover the entire court and hit another forced error.

Out of sudden, Murray broke back at love in the second game after a deep return and he fends off another break chance in the fifth game with a backhand winner to move 3-2 ahead. He won the next two points on the return as well for 11 out of last 14 points before Novak grabbed the next four points for an important hold that kept him on the positive side of the scoreboard despite losing the intensity in the last 15 minutes.

Nonetheless, Novak was back on the winning way after a break at 15 in game seven, firing a service winner to open a 5-3 lead and force Andy to serve for staying in the match. Murray made a good hold but Novak was already in the 10th game in his mind, placing another service winner there to complete the win and claim his third straight Paris Masters title. Results from the quarter-final stage:

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