Novak Djokovic Continues Masters Dominance in Toronto
Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
Novak Djokovic laid claim to a fourth ATP Masters 1000 title this year, and also a third career Rogers Cup title (his first since 2012) as he defeated Kei Nishikori in routine fashion 6-3 7-5, completing his utter dominance of the 2016 Rogers Cup in Toronto, where he didn’t drop a set, and only played one match that could be considered somewhat poor.
Despite losing early at Wimbledon in a shocking defeat, Djokovic sh0wed few weaknesses and no signs of stress back on hard courts as he slipped past big server Gilles Muller, and serve and volleyer Radek Stepanek in the first two rounds, despite their best efforts. In the business end of the tournament, Djokovic had to take out three credible top players, Tomas Berdych, Gael Monfils, and Nishikori. He didn’t drop a set against them, and only against Berdych did he display weaknesses in his game, weaknesses the Czech lacked the confidence to exploit, as he continues to struggle against the ATP’s elite in h2h matches. Nishikori gave it his best effort on Sunday afternoon, but his level simply could not match Djokovic, who heads to the 2016 Rio Olympics as the presumptive favorite for the Gold medal in a weakened field.
Nishikori reached his second Masters final this year, the other coming in Miami where he was also swept aside by Djokovic. The Japanese #1 defeated Dennis Novikov and Rajeev Ram early on, then needed three sets against Grigor Dimitrov, who had his chances, but was poor enough on serve he couldn’t pull the match out. Nishikori faced an improved Stan Wawrinka in the semifinals, but Wawrinka continued his somewhat disappointing season as he lost in straight sets, and was breadsticked in the second set after a competitive battle in the first set.
Credit also goes to semifinalist Gael Monfils who has now won nine of his last ten matches. The Frenchman won Washington, and followed that up with wins over David Goffin and Canadian #1 Milos Raonic most notably to reach the semifinals, although he was unable to knock off Djokovic this time.
Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo beat Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares for the doubles final, as it was a battle of the #3 seed team vs. the #2 seed team.