Andy Murray ended his eight match losing streak against Novak Djokovic this Sunday to win the Rogers Cup for the third time in his career.
The Scot put up a strong and confidant performance against the world no. one and his biggest rival, eventually taking the match in exactly three hours.
This was his fourth win of the year and his success at this tournament will see him return to number two in the world and be the second player to secure his place at the ATP World Tour Finals.
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Djokovic, who had struggled all week, passed up his chance to win his fifth straight title of the year and the 25th Masters title of his career.
When the match got underway, it was clear Murray’s game plan was to attack and be aggressive at every opportunity.
He dominated from the baseline and served spectacularly. Despite needing six attempts and facing characteristic resilience from Djokovic, Murray broke early and went 4-1 up in the first set.
Looking confidant, Murray served well and consistently piled on the pressure to take the first set. Despite faltering at times and allowing Djokovic to break back, it wasn’t enough to deter the newly appointed world number two, and Murray broke Djokovic again to take the set 6-4 with relative ease.
The second set was a different story as a reinvigorated Djokovic came out of the gates guns blazing. He stormed to a 2-0 lead, winning the first eight points unchallenged. Helped by a tired looking Murray, Djokovic was in complete control and the momentum was very firmly swinging in Djokovic’s direction.
Whilst Murray was winning the longer baseline rallies in the first set, Djokovic was dominating now. There were moments of brilliance from Murray and he was still applying pressure to the Serb, but it just wasn’t enough and there was very little he could do when Djokovic was in his element. The world number one took the second set 6-4 and it was into a decider.
A better start from Murray saw him serving at 3-1 after breaking Djokovic early on. What followed was the best game of the match as Djokovic put up his final fight to try and halt Murray’s onslaught.
A gruelling baseline battle that saw the game go to deuce ten times and Murray face six break points went on for fifteen minutes. Murray held his nerve though and served his way out of trouble every time, eventually taking the game to go 4-1 up and practically put the match away.
It was a tired and frustrated looking Djokovic ground stroke that went long that handed Murray the title on his fifth opportunity. Murray took home $685,200 and 1000 ATP rankings points for his efforts which will help firm up his new position at world number two, before he heads to Cincinnati with Djokovic for the Western & Southern Open to continue the US Open Series ahead of the season’s last slam.
Let’s just briefly put into context Murray’s achievement as he finally ended Djokovic’s winning streak in their H2H. This was the first time Murray has beaten Djokovic since the 2013 Wimbledon Championship, having lost to the Serb in their last 8 meetings. Their H2H now sits at 19-9 in Djokovic’s favour.
Djokovic was on another winning streak, as he had previously won twelve consecutive Masters 1000 finals ahead of this clash. He was also in the middle of a 30 match winning streak and had won 24 consecutive deciding sets in ATP Masters 1000 events.
Speaking after the match, Murray dedicated his win to his coach, Amelie Mauresmo, who has just given birth to a baby boy. “Amelie, this one’s for you. Thank you,” he announced in a touching dedication. Murray is looking ahead to Cincinnati but is not letting himself lose focus ahead of the US Open.
When asked if his preparation could be going any better, he said: “It’s hard to say. I lost in the first round of a tournament last week in a match many probably weren’t expecting me to lose.”
“Things can get better very quickly and they can get worse very quickly in sport so it’s important for me to analyse what went well this week and things I can still improve on.”
The US Open gets underway on the 31st August and there is one final Masters 1000 event in Cincinnati before it gets underway. Can Murray build on his success ahead of one of his favourite slams? Or will Djokovic exact revenge and clinch his fifth Masters title of the year? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.