Paris Flashback: Novak Djokovic wins fourth title over Andy Murray
by JOVICA ILIC | VIEW 1276
After four years, Novak Djokovic reclaimed the Paris title in 2013. The Serb became the first player to defend the crown a year later against Milos Raonic in the final. In arguably his best season, Novak claimed 11 titles in 2015, winning 82 out of 88 matches and leaving his rivals far behind.
In November, Djokovic lifted his fourth Paris Masters crown to become the most successful player at this event! After conquering Wimbledon, Novak lost finals in Montreal and Cincinnati before rattling off 22 straight wins to lift trophies at the US Open, Beijing, Shanghai and Paris.
He lost four sets during this streak and proved his brilliance on the hard courts, both outdoor and indoor. Novak entered the quarter-final in Paris, and the rest of the tournament was anything but easy for him after facing three top-5 players en route to the title.
Tomas Berdych pushed Novak into two tie breaks in the quarter-final. Stan Wawrinka took a set away from the Serb in the semi-final before serving a bagel in the decider to set up the title match against Andy Murray. It was already the seventh encounter between Novak and Andy in 2015, and the Serb won six of those matches.
He scored a 6-2, 6-4 victory in an hour and 33 minutes for his 26th Masters 1000 title and the fourth in Paris. They played their 30th match on the Tour, and Djokovic secured the 21st triumph, facing just one break point and dominating the return to control the scoreboard.
Murray converted that only break chance. However, it was far from enough for a more favorable result, dropping half of the points in his games and suffering four breaks from nine opportunities offered to Novak. The Serb won 13 out of 18 points on the second serve, and Murray could only dream about similar numbers behind his initial shot.
He served at 54% and made too many errors while trying to break Djokovic's defense and find an open space for his groundstrokes.
Novak Djokovic defeated Andy Murray for the third straight Paris Masters.
Djokovic had ten winners and 12 unforced errors, not perfect but undoubtedly better than Andy's 20 winners and 34 unforced mistakes.
The crucial element in Novak's victory was his performance in the mid-range rallies. He completely outplayed Murray in that segment and celebrated the title. Andy held with a forehand winner in the match's opening game, and Novak responded with a hold at love in game two.
The Serb moved his rival over the baseline in the third game and grabbed a break at love for an early advantage. Losing ground behind the initial shot, Andy had to dig deep again in the fifth game. He repelled three break chances to remain within one break deficit before netting a routine forehand at 2-4 to send Novak further in front.
The Serb held at 30 in the next game after another unforced error from Murray and sealed the set in 42 minutes. The Briton saved a break opportunity at the beginning of the second set. Still, Djokovic found a way to break him at 1-1 after another marvelous point from the baseline that forced Murray to cover the entire court and hit a forced error.
Suddenly, Andy broke back at love in the second game after a deep return and fended off another break chance at 2-2 to remain on the positive side. The Briton made a strong start on the return in game five and took 11 of the previous 14 points.
Novak stayed calm and grabbed four straight points for a vital hold. Djokovic was back on the winning way after a break at 15 in game seven. He fired a service winner in the next one to open a 5-3 lead and force Andy to serve to stay in the match.
Murray made a good hold and reduced the deficit to 5-4. However, Novak was already in the tenth game in his mind, placing a service winner to complete the victory and claim his third straight Paris Masters title.