Novak Djokovic remains on Rafael Nadal's trail



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Novak Djokovic remains on Rafael Nadal's trail

Novak Djokovic has won at least three ATP titles in 14 of the previous 16 seasons. Novak's first ATP crown came in Amersfoort in July 2006, kicking off his incredible journey and remaining competitive for 16 years. Passing one rival after another on the list, Djokovic is currently the fifth most successful player in the Open era with 89 ATP titles.

Novak stands behind Jimmy Connors, Roger Federer, Ivan Lendl and Rafael Nadal, hoping to reach the milestone 100th in two or three years. Djokovic is three ATP titles behind Nadal, looking good to reduce the deficit in the upcoming weeks, knowing his incredible indoor record.

Novak's 89th ATP crown came on Sunday in Tel Aviv, visiting Israel for the first time since 2006 and walking away with the trophy. The Serb faced three rivals from outside the top-100 en route to the final, enduring two tie breaks and dominating the remaining four sets to set the title clash.

Novak faced Marin Cilic for the 21st time and beat his good friend for the 19th time to lift the trophy. Djokovic scored a 6-3, 6-4 victory in an hour and 34 minutes to continue where he left at Wimbledon. The Serb made the difference with his first serve and defended one break point to keep the pressure on the other side.

Marin fired 13 aces but could not follow Novak's pace, playing against six break points and losing serve once in each set to settle with the runner-up prize. Djokovic had the upper hand in the shortest and more advanced rallies to control the pace and earn a beautiful trophy.

Novak Djokovic conquered his 89th ATP title in Tel Aviv.

Djokovic fired an ace in the encounter's first game and earned a break chance in the next one after Cilic's double fault. Marin saved it with a service winner and hit another double fault for the second break point.

The Croat erased it with a powerful serve and landed another to avoid an early setback. Novak grabbed the third game with a forehand winner and broke the rival in the next one after Marin's forehand error. Djokovic blasted a service winner a few minutes later and repeated that at 4-2 to remain in front.

Novak served for the set at 5-3 and wrapped it up with a service winner after 46 minutes. With a boost on his side, Djokovic broke at 15 in the second set's opening game to forge a massive advantage and move closer to the finish line.

The Serb cracked a backhand down the line winner to secure the second game and an ace at 2-1 to maintain the lead. Cilic hit a double fault in the fifth game to face a break point and saved it to remain within one break deficit.

It was Novak's turn for a double fault in the next one, offering Marin the only break chance and denying it with an ace. Djokovic closed the game with a service winner, and Cilic followed the rival's pace with a hold at love for 3-4.

Novak landed a service winner in game eight to move closer to the finish line and sealed the deal with a service winner at 5-4 to celebrate the title.