SHANGHAI: Third-ranked Novak Djokovic claimed the Masters Cup with a 6-1, 7-5 win over Russia’s Nikolay Davydenko in Sunday’s final to end a six-month title drought.
After Davydenko netted a serve return on match point, Djokovic repeatedly pumped both fists before throwing two rackets, his wristbands and shirt into the crowd. He went over to his family and coach, and they held a group hug, jumping several times together in joy.
“I’m very very happy to end up with the title,” said Djokovic, who won $625,000 and a Mercedes SUV. Djokovic dedicated the victory to his family, support team and fans back in Serbia. He also praised the Chinese fans; some of whom spent hours outside the players’ hotel seeking autographs and photos.
Closing in on Federer
It was the Serb’s first tournament victory since he won the Rome Masters in May and left him just 10 points behind Roger Federer in the men’s rankings.
Overtaking the Swiss star will be no easy feat since Djokovic will have to defend his titles early in the year at the Australian Open and Indian Wells. World No. 1 Rafael Nadal has a substantial lead, although he is nursing a sore knee that kept him away from Shanghai.
Djokovic, who said he was exhausted after needing nearly three hours to beat Gilles Simon in Saturday’s semifinals, was sharp from the start. He won the first five games, allowing Davydenko only six points.
While the fans in the packed Qi Zhong stadium clearly favoured Djokovic, they roared when Davydenko finally got on the board to pull within 5-1.
Djokovic had to fend off double break-point in the next game before finishing off the set with a deep backhand crosscourt that Davydenko couldn’t handle.
Djokovic, who failed to win a set in three matches during his debut last year at the season-ending event, broke for a 2-1 lead in the second set, leaping high as he pumped his fist.
Davydenko saved two match points while serving at 3-5. Djokovic, serving for the match, smashed an ace to save one break-point at 15-40, but showed some nerves as he followed with a double-fault to hand the game to Davydenko.
Serving at 5-5, the Russian returned the favour, netting a forehand on break-point. Djokovic didn’t squander the opportunity, easily holding to finish off the match.
Earlier, Daniel Nestor of Canada and Serbia’s Nenad Zimonjic beat Americans Bob and Mike Bryan 7-6(3), 6-2 to win the doubles title and clinch the year-end ATP No. 1 ranking. The Bryan twins, who were playing for their third title here, held the top ranking and won Olympic bronze at Beijing in August. — AP
6 months ago