In the last 15 years, Novak Djokovic has played numerous notable finals against Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal all over the globe. The Serb has been the dominant figure in men's tennis since 2011, matching his great rivals and seeking the 21st Major crown this week in New York.
Novak's first notable final came in Indian Wells 2007, losing it to Rafael Nadal and reaching another in Miami two weeks later. This time, Novak beat Rafa in the quarters and faced Guillermo Canas in the title clash, feeling relieved not seeing Roger or Rafa on the other side.
Novak won the title in Adelaide at the beginning of 2007 and saved his best tennis for March and the "Sunshine double" in Indian Wells and Miami. A teenager was the most prominent player at the opening two Masters 1000 events, reaching the final in Indian Wells and lifting the trophy in Miami, his first at the premium ATP level.
On April 1, the Serb toppled Guillermo Canas 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 in two hours and 20 minutes, dominating every segment to become the last teenager with the Masters 1000 crown! Novak saved all five break points while Guillermo served at only 54% and suffered four breaks from seven opportunities offered to his opponent.
Djokovic was more efficient in the shortest and most extended rallies, with his groundstrokes overpowering Canas, who was still pleased with the last two weeks after beating Roger Federer twice. Novak saved a break point at 1-1 to stay in touch and landed a backhand down the line in the next game to clinch a break at love.
Serving for the set at 5-3, Novak held at 15 after Canas' forehand error, looking for a similar outcome in the rest of the encounter. After four good holds at the start of the second set, Djokovic blasted a forehand down the line to force his opponent's error and grab a break, rattling off three break chances in the next one that lasted for a grueling 20 minutes!
Novak Djokovic spoke about his main rivals after winning Miami 2007.
It took all the energy away from Canas, who gave serve at love in game seven after Djokovic's backhand down the line winner that pushed the Serb 5-2 up.
Novak saved a break point in game eight to take two sets to love lead. Guillermo survived multiple break opportunities at the beginning of the third set, struggling with a left thigh injury but staying in touch with Novak until 4-4.
He hit a double fault to give Djokovic the critical advantage in game nine. The Serb placed a forehand down the line winner in the next one to celebrate the crown and begin his stellar Masters 1000 journey. "I felt pressure before the start of the final; still, I was happy not to face Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal.
They are both powerful in decisive matches, playing their best tennis when it matters the most. I learned a lot from that Indian Wells defeat to Rafa, taking positive and negative notes and trying to perform better next time.
I'm thrilled with my improvements; I hope it stays that way. My results in the last two events give me confidence; I think I'm world no. 2 in the Race, and this is my career-best tennis," Novak Djokovic said.