Last August at Cincinnati, when Spain’s Tommy Robredo lost to Novak Djokovic, he said that if someone playing the Serb was not doing his best, he would certainly lose against the world no.1. Robredo went on to add that even if the opponent was playing his best tennis, he could still lose if Djokovic was also at his best. The odd losses to for the Serb in recent times have come against his closest contemporaries like Federer or Nadal and if anyone else has beaten him, it would be safe to assume that either the Serb couldn’t play his natural game or he had been plagued with some injury. In the last decade, Djokovic has taken the game of tennis to a new level by his strong penchant for victory driven by his will power and an all-court athleticism. On Sunday, when he faced Canada’s Milos Raonic, the Serb knew pretty well that he would be up against the best servers in the game today and his chances against the Canadian rested on sending the serve back to the Canadian’s court as often as possible. The Serb did precisely that and kept his own service games on the upper keel. In the end he succeeded in defending his title and recorded his third victory in the ATP1000 Paris event after his first triumph in 2009 for the first time. It was also his first tournament after achieving fatherhood about two weeks ago. Therefore, the victory became special for him. By his victory, Novak Djokovic has moved way ahead of the threat posed by Roger Federer to replace him as the world no.1 at the end of the season. The Serb also achieved his 600th career win and the count of his unbeaten streak in indoor tournaments reached 27. In the doubles final, Bob and Mike Bryan also succeeded in defending their 2013 title and wrote their names in the tournament roster as 4 time winners of BNP Paribas Masters. But the celebrated American twins needed to work a lot harder compared to the dominant Serb in his singles match against Milo Raonic.
Djokovic had acknowledged before the start of the final that Raonic’s main weapon was his commanding serve, which had been finding its mark all through the tournament. Therefore he braced himself against being overawed by the Canadian. In fact he broke Raonic’s first service game itself to unsettle the Canadian’s rhythm. The Serb’s 3-0 lead in the first set began telling on Raonic’s nerves and he was down to three break points in the sixth game. He saved two of them with whizzing aces but couldn’t save the game. But he came back strongly in Djokovic’s service game and held three break points against the world no.1. But Djokovic benefitted from Raonic’s lack of accuracy on crunch points and walked away with the set 6-2. Somehow the Canadian failed in his service against Djokovic and sent down only 9 aces as against 21 that he served against Federer two days ago. He lost the first service game in the second set as well and trailed 0-2. Djokovic pressed on and held two match points in the eighth game but Raonic saved them both in style. He produced one service winner and a delectable forehand that passed the stranded Djokovic. Novak Djokovic, however, had the last laugh as he won the Paris Masters 6-2, 6-3 with a down-the-line forehand winner on his third match point in the next game. To indicate that he was now a father of an infant named Stefan, Djokovic celebrated his victory by sucking his thumb to an all-round appreciation of the Paris crowd.
In the doubles final, Bob and Mike Bryan scored a hard-fought 7-6, 5-7, 10-6 win against Poland’s Marcin Matkowski and Austrian Juergen Melzer. The victory took the tally of their triumphs in ATP Masters 1,000 tournament to 32 and they succeeded in defending their 2013 title in Paris. But the Bryans didn’t have a cakewalk as Matkowski and Melzer battled hard. Both pairs inflicted breaks in the opening service games against one another in the first set that went to the tie-break. The Bryan twins held their nerves and won the tiebreak 7/5. In the second set, the new combination of Matkowski/Melzer broke Bob’s serve in the final game and pocketed the second set 7-5. That brought the decider match tie-break of up to 10 points. The Bryans kept their game under control and emerged 10-6 victors. The brothers followed their US Open win and recorded their 102nd tour-level title.
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