Canada Flashback: Novak Djokovic wins title and passes Pete Sampras

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After a historic 2011 season, the pressure on the men’s Tour in 2012 was on Novak Djokovic, having to prove himself again and defend the colossal amount of points. The Serb could not repeat those numbers, but there was nothing wrong with his tennis.

He claimed six titles and secured the year-end no. 1 spot with a healthy lead over Roger Federer. One of the three crowns he defended was the Canada Open, entering Toronto just a week after a disappointing London Olympics. Novak lost two tight clashes against Andy Murray and Juan Martin del Potro in London to stay empty-handed and miss a medal.

Djokovic quickly left Wimbledon grass behind him and played on a high level in Canada for the third trophy at that event. In the title clash, the Serb beat Richard Gasquet 6-3, 6-2 on August 12 for the 12th Masters 1000 title, leaving Pete Sampras on 11.

Djokovic stayed close to Roger Federer on the ATP ranking list with those 1000 points, giving his best to defend as many and return to the throne. Djokovic lost serve once in four matches against Bernard Tomic, Sam Querrey, Tommy Haas and Janko Tipsarevic.

He settled into a nice rhythm and toppled the Frenchman in 62 minutes for the seventh win in eight meetings. Dominating on the first and second serve, Novak dropped eight points in nine service games, saving all four break chances and mounting the pressure on Richard, who could not deal with it.

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic claimed the 12th Masters 1000 crown in Toronto 2012.
Gasquet won only five out of 17 second serves and suffered three breaks from as many chances offered to Novak to finish runner-up for the second time in Canada.

The Serb had the upper hand in every segment, hitting more winners and fewer unforced errors while taking 29 out of 38 most extended exchanges. Interestingly, Richard kicked off the encounter with three straight points on the return for three break chances.

Novak denied them with solid hitting and closed the game after his opponent’s backhand error to avoid a slow start. Serving at above 80%, Gasquet was there with Djokovic in the first six games. Still, he suffered a break at love in game eight to push Novak 5-3 up, allowing the Serb to serve for the opening set.

The defending champion held at love with an ace and took 12 straight points for 6-3 in 32 minutes, looking determined to repeat that in set number two. It was important for Richard to make a good start, but that never happened.

He hit a double fault in the first game to push Novak in front and drift further away from the trophy. Untouched on serve after the encounter’s first game, Djokovic delivered another hold at love to cement the break after dominating more extended exchanges.

Gasquet ended his downfall with a comfortable service game at 0-2 and created a break chance in the next one. Djokovic denied it with a well-constructed attack, defended the lead with another quality point and moved 4-2 up with a hold at love in game six.

Powerless on the second serve, Richard got broken in game seven following Novak’s two winners. The Serb sealed the deal with a service winner at 5-2 to celebrate the third title of the season and the second in a row in Canada.

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