Djokovic Slick on Monte Carlo Clay
It may have been overcast in Monte Carlo, but for Novak Djokovic, rainbows and unicorns was the order of the day.
He was last man standing after almost three hours on silky clay against Tomáš Berdych to claim his second title in that Land of the Prince, 7-5 4-6 6-3.
How dominant is Djokovic at the moment? Feel free to choose the metrics:
- This was his third consecutive Masters title, and the fourth if we include last year in Paris,
- He's undefeated in last 17 matches, and
- After claiming several records, he's the first player in history to generate more than a 5000 ATP point advantage in the rankings -- 5460, to be exact -- over the current World No 2, Roger Federer.
Novak entered the finals without dropping a single set. After an authoritative performance against clay-court specialist Rafael Nadal in semi-finals, expectations were that the World No 1 would cruise against the fifth-seeded Berdych.
Two wins in his last 20 matches against Djokovic wouldn't be a promising record for anyone, but Berdych had a plan to test the Serb and the confidence to make it work.
He had the right idea. The Czech was first break serve, but Djokovic replied in kind. After 10 games, it was 5-all, but Berdych couldnt deal with the pressure on his serve and fell, 7-5.
After a rain delay, it was again the Czech who pulled the strings. After one hour, he took the second set, 4-6, to square the match.
Djokovic, though, doesn't run when he's hunted, and his response was what currently makes him the best in the business. He broke Berdych at start of the deciding set for a comfortable 4-1 advantage. And the rest is history, literally.
This was the Serb's 23rd Masters title. He's just four away from a tie with Nadal as best of all time in this regard.
With French Open on the horizon, Novak is officially on a quest for the remaining piece of his Grand Slam puzzle. He's surely the man to beat.