Djokovic beats Berdych in Monte Carlo to set new record for Mas­ter event wins

The China Post - - SPORTS -

No­vak Djokovic set an­other ca­reer record on Sun­day with his sec­ond Monte Carlo ti­tle, as the Serb be­came the first man to win the open­ing three Masters 1000 events in a sea­son through a 7- 5, 4- 6, 6- 3 de­feat of To­mas Berdych.

The top seed, who lives just a few hun­dred me­ters away from the cen­ter court, had to sur­vive a come­back from his Czech ri­val as well as a 70- minute rain in­ter­rup­tion which came as he led by a set and 3- 2 on serve in the sec­ond.

Djokovic’s victory was his 17th straight win of the sea­son and also marked a fourth straight Masters 1000 ti­tle af­ter also win­ning at Paris Bercy last Novem­ber.

“I won this match with my heart and with battle,” said Djokovic. “I don’t think I played on the level that I wish to play and that I have played through­out the whole week.

“But credit to To­mas be­cause he has played very ag­gres­sively, stay­ing close to the line, push­ing me back. So I had to de­fend a lot of times.

“It was a battle,” said the 2013 Monte Carlo win­ner, who was frus­trated as he com­mit­ted 38 un­forced er­rors and lost his first set of the week while con­vert­ing on only five of 14 break points.

Djokovic now owns 52 ca­reer ti­tles and 23 at the elite Masters level. He stands 19-2 over Berdych and 30-2 this sea­son.

Berdych missed a chance to move up to a ca­reer- best num­ber four in the world.

Djokovic won the open­ing set com­fort­ably but was un­able to come back af­ter the rain break and close it out in straight sets.

In­stead, Berdych got the early mo­men­tum upon the re­turn and lev­eled at a set each.

In the third, Djokovic again seized the ini­tia­tive, go­ing up two breaks only to lose one of them.

Berdych saved a match point, hold­ing for 3- 5 with an over­head win­ner. But Djokovic pre­vailed a game later as the Czech’s ser­vice re­turn sailed just long over the base­line.

“I came on the court to­day hop­ing and want­ing, of course, to play as well as I played through­out the whole week,” said Djokovic. “I played my best match and best ten­nis in the week against Nadal yes­ter­day. Maybe I was a lit­tle bit also men­tally ex­hausted com­ing into this match.”

AP

No­vak Djokovic, of Ser­bia, kisses his tro­phy af­ter de­feat­ing To­mas Berdych, of Czech Repub­lic, in the fi­nal match of the Monte Carlo Ten­nis Masters tour­na­ment in Monaco on Sun­day, April 19.

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