For the second consecutive day Novak Djokovic registered his 12th consecutive win against an opponent as he outclassed the in form Frenchman Gael Monfils 6-3, 6-2 in the semifinal of the Roger’s Cup on Saturday at the Aviva Center. He would be seeking to extend his record of 29 Masters title and will face Japan’s Kei Nishikori whom he defeated earlier this year at the Miami Masters by Itau.
The top ranked Serbian superstar who won this title in 2007 and 2011 in Montreal and here in Toronto in the year 2012 has won his last eight meetings with the sixth ranked Nishikori. He has also won 10 of his last 14 finals in his last 15 ATP Masters 1000 appearances. All of these have come during his 108 consecutive weeks atop the rankings dating back to Wimbledon 2014.
Nishikori beat world no. 5 Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland who was seeded second in a field depleted by the absence of former champions Andy Murray (2009 and 2010 and 2015), Roger Federer (2004 and 2006) and Rafael Nadal (2006, 2008 and 2013). The third seed save four set points, including two in the 12th game while serving to stay in the set and then in the ensuing tie-break trailing 4-6. He was gifted the set on a platter by the Swiss who double faulted at 6-5 in the tie-break. Nishikori reeled off the last four points and it took only 89 minutes to win 7-6(1), 6-1.
Monfils who won his maiden ATP 500 title at the CITI Open in Washington last week beating the Croat Ivo Karlovic was riding a nine match winning streak but could make little impression against Djokovic. Monfils dropped serve four times in the 73 minute match played in the evening session. Monfils fell 0-12 to Djokovic despite the World no. 1 serving six double faults.
Djokovic leads the career head to head 9-2 and since losing to Nishikori in the 2014 U.S. Open semi final in four sets has won the last eight including three in 2016, the Miami final on hard courts and the semi final of the Madrid and Rome Masters on European clay. He has six titles this year, at the Australian and French Open, the Masters titles at Indian Wells, Miami and Madrid and the ATP 250 title at the beginning of the year in Doha, Qatar. The Serb is 50-4 in 2016. Nishikori has only one title this year in Memphis (4th consecutive title there) and is 40-11 for the year.
Prediction For The Final
Djokovic has struggled with his serve in four matches and is looking to bounce back from his shock third round loss to Sam Querrey at Wimbledon. Nishikori has had an ordinary year with injuries and would be looking for his maiden ATP 1000 title while Djokovic is looking for his 30th ATP 1000 title. This should be a scrappy match and a Djokovic win cannot be taken for granted though few would bet against him. Nishikori in three tight sets is my call.
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy. You can reach him at the email: email@example.com]