World no.1 Novak Djokovic didn’t allow Britain’s Andy Murray much to maneuver in the final of 2015 BNP Paribas Paris Masters tournament that concluded on November 8. 2015. The Serb looked far from troubled in a literally one-sided match and clinched the 10th title of the current season. It was also Djokovic’s third consecutive win at Paris and fourth overall. In addition, the Paris victory carried his career win figure to 58 titles and 26 in ATP1000 events. With his 22-match winning streak, the Serb will be a heavy favorite for the year-ending ATP finals in London beginning on November 15. With three Grand Slam crowns this year, Djokovic will most certainly begin the 2016 season on high a note.
Djokovic’s entry into the final on Saturday was eventful as he faced his French Open conqueror Stan Wawrinka in the semifinal. After winning the first set, the top-seeded Serb lost the second against a suddenly charged-up Swiss. But that was only as far as Wawrinka could go, because, Djokovic found his foothold and bageled the Swiss in the third to emerge victorious at 6-3, 3-6, 6-0. Incidentally, it was Wawrinka, who had stopped former world no.1 Rafael Nadal from making any further progress in the tournament. Though it was a straight-sets victory for Wawrinka, both sets went to tiebreaks, in a match lasting close to 2½ hours. Nadal had begun well by breaking Wawrinka’s service early but the Swiss made it 5-5 by breaking back in the 10th game. In the ensuing tiebreak, Wawrinka won at 10-8. The second set was equally hard-fought with Wawrinka finally outlasting the dogged Spaniard 9-7 in the second tiebreak.
In contrast, Murray had a relatively easier time against Spain’s David Ferrer in a 6-4, 6-3 semifinal victory. But in the final, the Scot couldn’t endure the tenacity of Djokovic’s game. It was the 30th time in their careers that the world’s top two players were meeting each other and when the match ended, Djokovic improved to 21-9. In the last 27 months, Murray has beaten Djokovic twice; once at Wimbledon 2013 and recently at Montreal’s Rogers Cup final in August 2015. In contrast, Djokovic has won 11 times in 13 meetings with Murray including the 2013 Wimbledon final. At Paris on Sunday, the two warriors fought hard for the second point of the match with Murray serving. But the 22-shot rally was the only instance of competition because once Djokovic broke Murray in the third game; the final became a lop-sided contest. Somehow, Murray managed to save three break points in 5th game before Djokovic broke him again in the 7th game and served out for the first set in 42 minutes. In the second set too, Djokovic got an early break but this time Murray broke back to come on equal terms. However, Murray’s resistance didn’t last long as the Serb found another break in the 7th game and moved quickly for another title of the season with a 6-2, 6-4 victory.
The Paris victory was Djokovic’s sixth of the season in ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events. Overall, the Serb has won 26 Master’s titles in his career. Watching the final intently was Djokovic’s coach Boris Becker, who is a three-time victor himself at Paris Masters. On match-point, when Murray’s two-handed backhand fell just wide, the Serb turned around and blew a kiss to his coach. Their two-year association has been extremely fruitful thus far. Now the only tournament remaining in the year is Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. Djokovic is the reigning champion and, in his current form, he looks unstoppable at the O2 Arena in London. The doubles crown at Paris was won by Croatia’s Ivan Dodig and Brazil’s Marcelo Melo. They defeated Canadian Vasek Pospisil and American Jack Sock 2-6, 6-3, 10-5 in a closely-fought final.
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