MADRID, May 8, 2016
Novak Djokovic claimed a record 29th ATP Masters 1000 title, winning Sunday’s final of the Mutua Madrid Open against Andy Murray 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.
After more than ten hours of incessant rain in the Spanish capital, the roof opened right before the start of the final between the world number one the world number two on court Manolo Santana.
Djokovic broke serve to open the encounter and continued flying to force Murray into another service loss in the fifth game. The 28-year-old from Serbia dominated the early stages of the match like he did in the final in Doha against Nadal in January, hitting 11 winners and eventually served the first set out after only 30 minutes.
Twenty minutes later, the second seed gained his first break points in the fourth game of the second frame and Murray was gifted a 3-1 lead when Djokovic produced a horrible double fault. The Scot sealed the second set in the ninth game with a nice drop shot to push the match the distance.
Murray, who has never beaten the number one from a set down, suffered an early service loss in the second game of the final set after Djokovic had the better ending of an intense baseline rally. The world number one, however, double faulted again at the worst possible time, facing break point in the following game. Djokovic, who captured the title in Madrid five years ago, got back on track by hitting a clean backhand winner down the line to gain a decisive 4-2 lead. Yet, the Belgrade native needed to save seven chances for a break from a powerful Murray in a highly entertaining ninth game to eventually convert his second match point after two hours and six minutes.
Like most of the players during this week, Djokovic praised the food at the tournament but added during the ceremony that he was looking forward to eat some sushi – maybe the only fauxpas he made in the capital city of tapas in the last seven days.
“I started very well, playing terrific tennis in the first set but had a slow start into the second set. Credits to Andy who managed to stay tough,” Djokovic told afterwards.
“He started serving very well, especially down the T and deuce side. Very precise and very strong, and he was backing that serve up with aggressive first shots, and then just about an hour it was split sets. Then the match really could have gone either way, but we exchanged some breaks of serves early in the third. Then when it seemed like I was closing out the match and having a match point at 5-2, he came up with some big serves again. The last game obviously got myself out of some trouble with some good serves, with some good forehands, but was very, very close. Very close. Of course I did not want to let that service game go because I know that Andy will capitalize on his opportunities and start to play better if he broke my serve. So I fought. I fought very hard, and I’m just glad that I managed to finish that game,” the world number one will take away €912,900 in prize money as well as 1,000 ATP ranking points.
By winning his 64th career title, Djokovic equaled the record of Pete Sampras and Björn Borg.
“It’s obviously very flattering to be alongside such legends of the sport, tennis players that I was looking up to, especially Pete Sampras. When I was growing up he was ruling the tennis world. To win as many titles as he did in his career, it’s quite amazing. It’s an achievement that I’m very proud of. As you said, it’s a motivation more.”
Murray will lose his second place in the ATP rankings to Roger Federer on Monday.
“I would have loved to defend the title here, but Novak did a great job today,”Murray said. “I fought hard, being a bit dissapointed. I made him to work hard in the second set and at the beginning of the third. Both of us were pretty clinical on break points but in the last game he showed why he is number one. When he was a bit nervous in the end, he came out with some big serves and free points.”
Earlier the day, Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau captured the doubles title, winning the final against Rohan Bopanna and Florin Mergea 6-4, 7-6. The Dutch-Romanian-combination, who held-off the tournament’s top-seeds and four times ATP Masters champions this year Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut in the semis, needed only one break to lift their first trophy of the season after one hour and 11 minutes.
“I want to thank my partner for having another great week,” Tecau said. “We were struggling for a few weeks, couldn’t win a lot of matches. It feels great to play well together and get another title.”