World No. 1 Novak Djokovic has turned back the clock to 2011, where he was once nearly unstoppable during his tear through the ATP World Tour. Four years later, the Serbian star is once again in peak form and proved that while he may not always be playing his best tennis, he will certainly be difficult to topple.
On Sunday afternoon at the Monte Carlo event, Djokovic overcame a determined Tomas Berdych in three sets to lift his third Masters 1000 title of the season. He won the match 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 in a contest that was interrupted by a rain delay midway through the second set. Djokovic eventually won the match in two hours and 43 minutes to extend his winning streak to 17 consecutive matches.
“It was a battle,” Djokovic said. “I was up a set and 3-2, then a (rain) interruption, we came back, I had a break point but he played some amazing shots. If I made the break there, maybe the match could be done in two sets.
“He had his chances as well. The third set started very well at 4-0. I just lost that service game for no reason. After that, every single game went the distance: deuce, advantage. It was a real fight. I was trying to mentally stay tough and fight my way through.”
The third set was the pivotal turn, as Djokovic stormed to a 4-0 lead before Berdych clawed his way onto the scoreboard. In the end, the Serb took home €628,100 and 1,000 Emirates ATP Rankings points and extended his head-to-head lead to 19-2.
“I left him a big gap in the third set,” said Berdych. “That was the decider, definitely. It was really just about a couple of points that didn’t go my way. He defended them very well… I was making him run all the way through those three sets. There was just a couple of things that didn’t go as I would like to.”