Monday, 4 April 2016

Novak setting more records

Novak Djokovic was determined to follow in Vika Azarenka's footsteps and win the Indian Wells / Miami double.  It would be the third year in succession for Novak, and his sixth Miami title, equalling the Agassi record.

In his way was the final hurdle, 6th seed Kei Nishikori.  No Federer - crook tummy, no Murray - done by Dimitrov, no Nadal - retired on the way to losing to a qualifier and no Wawrinka - again failing early confirming his inconsistency.

So the once Big Four, and more recent fabricated Big Five have now been reduced, or better said morphed into a dominant individual Djokovic, the likes of which we haven't seen for many years, perhaps Federer, before his nemesis from Spain interfered.

Nishikori is one of a group of players, pretenders to the crown, and a win in Miami would make a significant impression given both Djokovic's recent record over top ten players, and particularly his last handful against the Japanese number one.

The final didn't exactly deliver fireworks in the first set, with several service breaks.  However it was clear that with Nishikori not serving as well as he did in the semi against Kyrgios, the returns from the Serbian racquet were going to be more difficult than normal to handle, if that were possible to imagine.

Djokovic won 60% of points from the Nishikori serve, both first and second.  Simple weight of points dictated the direction of the set and Djokovic sealed it 6-3.

Set two was just a Djokovic demonstration of class and Nishikori was left to admire with the rest of the spectators and officials.  The world's best won nearly all points on his own serve and never faced a break point, but was savage on the Nishikori delivery, winning almost half of those points, often with his trademark quick fire change of defence into attack.

Two breaks, one at the start, and one at the end, were sufficient to finish off a tournament without loss of set and break more records.  Kei Nishikori did well, joining Nadal, Murray and Raonic as losing finalists this year to Djokovic, but he needs to find a tournament in which Novak is not participating, should he wish to add to his title success.

For the moment, Djokovic does make it 6 Miami wins to join Agassi at that number, and now is the clear leader of Masters titles at 28, one clear now of Rafa Nadal.

Now for the clay season, and the challengers on that surface are no longer challengers to Nadal it seems, but to the world's best on any surface you'd like to choose - Novak Djokovic.

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