Canada Flashback: Novak Djokovic wins title and passes Pete Sampras

Novak Djokovic wins title, overtaking Pete Sampras

After a historic 2011 season, the pressure on the 2012 men’s tour was on Novak Djokovic, who had to prove himself again and defend the colossal score. The Serb couldn’t repeat those numbers but there was nothing wrong with his tennis.

He clinched six titles and secured the No. 1 spot by the end of the year by a healthy margin over Roger Federer. One of the three crowns he defended was the Canada Open, which arrived in Toronto just a week after the disappointing London Olympics. Novak lost two close duels against Andy Murray and Juan Martin del Potro in London, left empty-handed and missing out on a medal.

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

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

He found a good rhythm and toppled the Frenchman in 62 minutes for his seventh win in eight meetings. Dominating first and second serves, Novak dropped eight points in nine service games, saving all four break chances and increasing the pressure on Richard, who couldn’t handle it.

Novak Djokovic claimed the twelfth Masters 1000 crown in Toronto in 2012.

Gasquet won just five of 17 second serves and suffered three breaks from as many chances offered to Novak to finish second in Canada for the second time.

The Serb had the upper hand in every segment, hitting more winners and fewer unforced errors while winning 29 of 38 furthest exchanges. Interestingly, Richard started the encounter with three straight points on the return for three break chances.

Novak defended them with solid shots and ended the game after a backhand error from his opponent to avoid a slow start. Serving over 80%, Gasquet featured in the first six games with Djokovic. Still, he suffered a break of serve in game eight to put Novak 5-3 ahead, allowing the Serb to serve for the opening set.

The defending champion held at love with an ace to take 12 straight points in 32 minutes for 6-3, looking determined to repeat that in set number two. It was important for Richard to get off to a good start, but it never got there.

He hit a double fault in the first game to push Novak forward and move further away from the trophy. After the first game of the encounter, Djokovic remained untouched on serve and delivered another to cement the break after dominating lengthy changes.

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

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

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