Canada Flashback: Novak Djokovic earns Masters 1000 record before Nadal, Federer



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Canada Flashback: Novak Djokovic earns Masters 1000 record before Nadal, Federer

World no. 1 Novak Djokovic ousted Gilles Muller, Radek Stepanek, Tomas Berdych and Gael Monfils to advance into the Canada Open final in 2016. In the title clash, the world's most dominant player took down Kei Nishikori 6-3, 7-5 in 83 minutes for the milestone 30th Masters 1000 title at 29 and the fourth in Canada.

It was Novak's 33rd victory from 34 matches on hard in 2016, losing the only encounter in Dubai when he had an eye problem against Feliciano Lopez. Djokovic did everything right in the opening set against Nishikori and prevailed in the second to earn the ninth consecutive win over the Japanese following that shocking 2014 US Open loss.

The Serb served at 76% and faced two break points in the second set's sixth game when Kei pulled the break back. Apart from that, the Japanese player had no chances on return, which put a lot of pressure on him in his service games, knowing he must be at his absolute best to stay in touch with Novak and force at least a tie break.

Kei was not capable of doing that, as Novak outplayed him from the baseline, especially in the first set. Nishikori improved his second serve in the second set and stayed in the rallies, only to lose ground in the pivotal moments.

Novak's tennis in the opening set was out of this world, serving at 85% and displaying some sublime shots that left Kei without any chance. As an excellent omen of his overall performance, Djokovic won the first ten points in his games, with Kei staying in touch early on.

Novak broke at 15 in game six for a 4-2 lead and carried that until the end after keeping his serve intact.

Novak Djokovic became first player with 30 Masters 1000 titles in Canada 2016.

The second set started with an early break for Novak at 1-1, and at that moment, there were slim chances that the match could be prolonged, as he just played too good.

Out of a sudden, Nishikori woke up and started to play much better, taking 12 out of the following 14 points to get in front for the first time at 4-3. Djokovic could not maintain his level from the first set and a half, which was hard to expect anyway.

He started to make more errors, and Nishikori finally got some breathing space. Novak served to stay in the set while trailing 5-4 and did it in style with a love service game, shifting the pressure to the other side. Kei had two game points for a 6-5 lead, but Novak fended them off and converted his first break chance to move in front.

In the next game, the Serb needed three match points to seal the victory, putting his name on the record books as the first player with 30 Masters 1000 trophies. His main advantage came in the shortest points, where he had a 36-26 edge.

Those points with five or more shots also went in his favor 29 to 24, in what was yet another classic triumph from the world's best player.