Canada Flashback: Novak Djokovic wins title and passes Pete Sampras

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Canada Flashback: Novak Djokovic wins title and passes Pete Sampras

After a historic 2011 season, the entire pressure on the men's Tour in 2012 was on Novak Djokovic, having to prove himself again and defend the colossal amount of points. The Serb couldn't repeat those numbers, but there was nothing wrong with his tennis, claiming six titles and securing the year-end no.

1 spot with a healthy lead over Roger Federer. One of the three crowns he defended was the Canada Open, entering Toronto just a week after a disappointing London Olympics. Novak lost two tight clashes against Andy Murray and Juan Martin del Potro to stay empty-handed and miss a medal.

Djokovic left Wimbledon grass behind him quickly and played on a very high level in Canada for the third trophy at that event. In the title clash, the Serb beat Richard Gasquet 6-3, 6-2 on August 12 for the 12th Masters 1000 title, leaving Pete Sampras on 11.

Djokovic stayed close to Roger Federer on the ATP ranking list with those 1000 points, giving his best to defend as many and return to the throne as soon as possible. Djokovic lost serve only once in four matches before the final against Bernard Tomic, Sam Querrey, Tommy Haas and Janko Tipsarevic, settling into a nice rhythm and toppling the Frenchman in 62 minutes for the seventh win in eight meetings.

Dominant on both the first and second serve, Novak dropped eight points in nine service games, saving all four break chances and mounting the pressure on Richard, who couldn't deal with it.

In Toronto 2012, Novak Djokovic claimed the 12th Masters 1000 crown.

Gasquet won only five out of 17 second serves and suffered three breaks from as many chances offered to Novak to finish runner-up for the second time in Canada.

The Serb had the upper hand in every segment, hitting more winners and fewer unforced errors while taking 29 out of 38 most extended exchanges to earn the triumph fair and square. Interestingly, Richard kicked off the encounter with three straight points on the return for three break chances, denied by solid hitting from Novak, who closed the game after his opponent's backhand error to avoid a slow start.

Serving at above 80%, Gasquet was there with Djokovic in the first six games before suffering a break at love to push Novak 5-3 up, allowing the Serb to serve for the opening set. Taking 12 straight points, the defending champion held at love with an ace for 6-3 in 32 minutes, gathering momentum and looking determined to repeat that in set number two.

It was important for Richard to make a good start, but that never happened, as he hit a double fault in the first game to push Novak in front and drift further and further away from the trophy. Untouched on serve after the first game of the encounter, Djokovic delivered another hold at love to cement the break, having a massive advantage from the baseline and taking almost every more prolonged rally.

Gasquet ended his downfall with a comfortable service game at 0-2 and created a break chance in the next one that Djokovic denied with a well-constructed attack, defending the lead with another quality point and moving 4-2 up with a hold at love in game six.

Powerless on the second serve, Gasquet got broken following Novak's two winners, and the Serb sealed the deal with a service winner at 5-2 to celebrate the third title of the season and the second in a row in Canada.