Flashback Canada: Novak Djokovic earns Masters 1000 record ahead of Nadal and Federer



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Flashback Canada: Novak Djokovic earns Masters 1000 record ahead of Nadal and Federer

World no. 1 Novak Djokovic saved his best tennis for the final match in Toronto 2016, defeating Kei Nishikori 6-3, 7-5 in 82 minutes for the 30th Masters 1000 title and the fourth in Canada. It was the 66th ATP title for the Serb, improving his hard-court score in 2016 to 33-1, suffering the only loss in Dubai when he retired against Feliciano Lopez.

Djokovic produced a clinical performance in the opener, with Kei bouncing back at the beginning of the second, only to fall short in the closing stages. Thus, Novak stayed undefeated against Kei for almost two years, since that US Open 2014 loss, winning the next nine matches against the Japanese.

Like many times before, Djokovic saved his best tennis for the encounters when it matters the most, leaving behind all the troubles he had in the early rounds and playing on a high level against Monfils and Nishikori. Everything worked like he would want, from the first serve, groundstrokes, and the fact he played better in the most critical points.

Novak was sailing through his service games, landing 75% of the first serve in and facing only two break points in the sixth game of the second set when Kei broke back. Apart from that, the Japanese had no chances on return, knowing he had to match Novak's numbers if he wanted to remain in contention for the first Masters 1000 title.

Kei couldn't do that, unable to find the rhythm from the baseline and impose his strokes, especially in the opener. In the second set, Nishikori improved his second serve and stayed in the rallies, neck and neck with Novak until the last couple of games.

That wasn't enough to take at least a set, with Djokovic shifting his game to a higher level to secure the triumph in straight set. It was out of this world tennis from Novak in the opening set, serving at 85% and displaying some sublime shots that left Kei without any chance for a more favorable result.

Djokovic won the first ten points behind serve, a nice omen of his overall performance.

In Toronto 2016, Novak Djokovic became trhe first player with 30 Masters 1000 titles.

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

The second set started with Novak's early break at 1-1, looking good to march over the finish line in a couple of games. Out of sudden, Nishikori woke up and started to play much better, taking 12 out of the next 14 points to get in front for the first time, leading 4-3.

Djokovic couldn't maintain his level from the first set and a half, starting to spray more mistakes and giving Nishikori some breathing space. Novak served to stay in the set at 4-5, holding at love and shifting the pressure to the other side of the net.

Kei had two game points for a 6-5 advantage but Novak fended them off to get into the position to score a break, converting his first chance and moving 6-5 ahead. 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.