Novak Djokovic, who has been on something of a spree when it comes to matching or bettering the records of his predecessors aka the Big Two – Federer and Nadal, in the past year, has added another feather to his cap. By winning the Indian Wells Masters for a record 5th time, last Sunday, the Serbian has now leveled the record for the most Masters titles on the ATP World Tour.
In the final of the 1st Masters Tournament on the tennis calendar, Djokovic turned the heat on Milos Raonic, forcing the Canadian to hit himself out of the match and championship. The scoreline was a disastrous 2-6, 0-6 rout for the North American. The scoreline could have been closer. It could have been a double bagel too. Djokovic was relentless from the moment the first ball was struck and Raonic, in an attempt to be aggressive, made too many errors to make the match anywhere near competitive.
Djokovic jumped out to a 4-0 start in the opening set and though Raonic offered sporadic resistance, Djokovic was always in control of the match and Raonic who was over-cooking neutral balls failed to get his teeth stuck into the match. That set the tone for the rest of the match and Raonic was playing catch-up since being broken in his first service game. It was a race he would never get even close to the the finish line.
The next part of the match, Raonic was able to hold on to his serve as Djokovic refused to give any easy points. Djokovic rode the scoreboard to secure the first set 6-2 and the writing was on the wall for the Canadian. Nothing very encouraging for the Canadian, one would guess. It was the 11th set in the 12 sets they had played unto that point, that the Serbian had won.
It was imperative that Raonic make a great start to the second set to arrest the supreme momentum that the 11 time major Champ had built. Alas! Ir was not to be as Raonic failed to up the ante on both the physical and mental side. The match quickly moved into the “academic interest only” zone as Djokovic jumped out to another 4-0 start to the set. This time, Djokovic converted into a bagel as he brought down the curtains on the 2 week long event – as he has been doing often the past 5 years – as a winner.
With the win, Djokovic joins Nadal at the top in the list of Masters winners with 27 titles.Given the recent trajectory of their careers, one would think Djokovic will move ahead into a solo lead position, sooner rather than later. The men’s tour now heads to the other US coast for the Miami Masters – another favourite hunting ground for the Serbian.