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Djokovic Makes Masters 1000 History In Montreal

Montreal, Canada

Djokovic © Getty ImagesWorld No. 1 Novak Djokovic celebrates after winning the Montreal title.

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic made history Sunday in Montreal, becoming the first player to win five ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles in one season after defeating American Mardy Fish 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 in the Rogers Cup final.

Djokovic, making his first appearance since Wimbledon and ascending to No. 1 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings, also became the only active player to win a title in his debut tournament as the World No. 1.

“History making, of course it’s special,” he said. “Of course, it’s an honour and privilege to be part of the history of the sport that I love and that I play.”

Though Fish looked the stronger of the two players to begin the match, Djokovic proved to be more opportunistic. He fought off five break points early on before capitalising on his first opportunity to take the lead in the sixth game. The Serbian sealed the opening set in 38 minutes with another break of serve.

Fish continued to create break point chances in the second set, finally converting on his ninth one of the match. It marked the first time Djokovic had been broken since losing serve four times in his second-round opener against Nikolay Davydenko. The Serbian conceded a second service game, this time at love, as he served to stay in the set.

Extended to a decisive set for just the ninth time this season and the first time since the Rome semi-finals against Andy Murray, Djokovic did not give Fish another chance to break his serve. The Serbian took the decisive break at 2-all, and held on to claim his ninth title of 2011 after two hours and 23 minutes.

“I think I was more nervous than in the previous matches today,” admitted Djokovic. “Well, it was the final. There was a lot of tension going on. It was a very close match. He wanted to win that match as much as I did. That's why we were quite intense. It was a mental fight, as well.  It was not just physical. But I managed to hold my composure when I needed to.”

Fish, meanwhile, lamented his missed chances. “I felt like I had an opportunity today, I really did,” he said. “I had a lot of chances in that first set, ended up losing 6-2 early. If you try to forget who you’re playing against, you’re just playing another player, maybe you can figure out a way to get a break or two there. I had a lot of shots early in that first set on my racquet that I’d like to have back.”

Djokovic has now won all five ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments he’s contested this season. In his previous four - Indian Wells, Miami, Rome and Madrid - he defeated Rafael Nadal in the final. He has now won 10 Masters 1000 titles, including his second at the Rogers Cup. In 2007, he claimed the Montreal title with victories over the world’s top three players in succession (Roddick, Nadal, Federer).

The Serbian improves to a 53-1 season record (29-0 on hard courts), with his lone loss coming against Roger Federer in the Roland Garros semi-finals.

It was the fourth time that Fish had lost in the third set of a ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final, including a loss to Djokovic in 2008 at Indian Wells, and he expressed his disappointment of coming so close on numerous occasions.

“It’s really hard to get to these spots in the first place, and I've lost four of them all in three sets,” he said. “It’s really hard to take. I mean, just so much energy mentally and physically goes into going that far. I’ve never won one. I want it so badly. It hurts.”

Despite the loss, Fish still stands atop the 2011 Olympus US Open Series Bonus Challenge Standings with just two weeks remaining until the year’s final major. He has reached the final in all three of his hard-court appearances this summer, winning the Atlanta title (d. Isner) and finishing runner-up in Los Angeles (l. to Gulbis).

“It was great playing him,” Djokovic said. “I’m happy to see him doing well. I think he’s experiencing the best time of his career in the last two years.”

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Related Topics:

Rogers Cup, Montreal, Novak Djokovic

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