One victory on Sunday brought several landmarks for Serbia’s world no.1 tennis player Novak Djokovic. As he defeated Japan’s sixth seed Kei Nishikori in the final, Djokovic recorded his third consecutive win at Key Biscayne. It was also the sixth victory overall for the Serb and he surpassed Andre Agassi’s record of 5 Miami Open wins. Further, the new title added to his count of 27 career wins in ATP Masters, a figure he has shared with Spain’s Rafael Nadal. Now that number has reached 28 and it is an all-time record in tennis history. On his current form, the Serb looks impregnable and his 2016 tennis season’s win-loss record has jumped to 28-1. On the lighter side, the number 28 has suddenly assumed an interesting connotation since the Serb is also 28 years of age. Djokovic’s solitary loss this season has come against Spain’s Feliciano Lopez in the Dubai Duty-Free Tournament, when an eye problem caused the Serb to retire midway through his quarterfinal match.
Ironically, however, Djokovic began his title defense on Sunday with a break of his serve in the opening game of the first set against Nishikori. But that proved only a small aberration as the Serb broke right back. Thereafter, the game continued on serves until in the sixth game, when Djokovic obtained the crucial break to open a 4-2 lead. But the tenacious Japanese was equal to the task as he also broke Djokovic’s service in the seventh game with his own serve to follow. But Djokovic broke Nishikori once again and pocketed the first set by holding his serve.
Three service breaks by Djokovic in the first set affected Nishikori’s game in the second set as he began to serve for the opening game. He moved to 30-0 but the world no.1 produced some great volleys to win 4 points in a row for another break against the Japanese, who seemed weighed down by the enormity of the occasion. From this point onwards, the set went on serves until the eighth game as Djokovic led 5-3. In the ninth game as Nishikori prepared to serve for the match, some drama ensued. Nishikori really worked hard to keep Djokovic under check but the Serb still made it 30-30 as some of his deep volleys found their marks. As Nishikori prepared to close the game at 40-30, Djokovic brought the score to deuce. But soon, Djokovic missed a straightforward forehand and the Japanese held another game point. A double fault from Nishikori brought the score to deuce. In a strange coincidence, Nishikori committed a second double fault and gave away a championship point to Djokovic. Though the Serb shouldn’t have missed it, his return was long the game was back to deuce. Djokovic soon earned the second championship point but he missed again and it was deuce for the third time. However, Nishikori’s game looked like cracking as he yielded another advantage to Djokovic. The Serb had no intention of going on missing as he closed the match with a 6-3, 6-3 victory and wrote his name in tennis history as an all-time ATP Masters title leader.
By taking home $1.028 million for the title, Djokovic also surpassed Roger Federer as the all-time ATP prize money leader. His earnings figure stands at $98,199,548 to the Swiss Maestro’s $97,855,881. Like Victoria Azarenka on Saturday, Djokovic also completed the Indian Wells-Miami double. It was the third year in a row and fourth overall that the Serb has scored the US double of winning Indian Wells-Miami in the same year.