Novak Djokovic stopped American Mardy Fish 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 to win the ATP Rogers Cup on Sunday, capping his competitive debut as world No. 1 with a record-setting title.
The Serb began his reign in style becoming the first to capture five Masters Series events in a single season, while extending his match record to a jaw-dropping 53-1.
The win also made him the first to capture an ATP event on debut as No. 1 since Pete Sampras in 1993.
Back in action for the first time since his Wimbledon victory, Djokovic quickly found his footing on the Canadian hardcourts and only dropped a single set along the way.
“History-making, of course it’s special,” Djokovic told reporters. “Of course, it’s an honor and privilege to be part of the history of the sport that I love and that I play. I’m still 24. I still have lots of desire to win all the tournaments that I play.”
Fish, who had enjoyed a brilliant hardcourt campaign to reach his third consecutive final, threw everything he had at Djokovic, but rued missed chances to break his winless record against the Serb.
“I felt like I had an opportunity today, I really did,” Fish said. “I had a lot of chances in that first set and ended up losing.”
The 29-year-old American failed to convert five break points in the first four games. However, Djokovic was not nearly as generous, breaking at the first opportunity to jump to 4-2.
The Serb then moved in for the kill, holding serve and breaking Fish again to take the first set.
The feisty Fish delivered on his promise of a fight in the second set, breaking his opponent twice to level the match, but Djokovic recovered and finished off Fish with a service winner to seal the third.
Already highly fancied to add a US Open title to his Wimbledon crown and two Australian Open championships, Djokovic will continue his buildup to the year’s final Grand Slam in Cincinnati where he could extend his record to six Masters Series titles in a season.
AFP, CINCINNATI, OHIO
Juan Martin del Potro won his opening round match at the ATP Cincinnati Masters on Sunday, setting up a second-round rematch of his 2009 US Open final against Roger Federer.
Del Potro, who is ranked 19th in the world, was 4-1 ahead against Andreas Seppi when the Italian withdrew because of an injured right foot.
“I felt confident in my forehand,” Del Potro said.
The Argentine reached the round of 16 at Wimbledon for the first time this year and is seeking to regain his form heading into the US Open which begins in two weeks.
Del Potro upset Federer in the US Open final two years ago, 3-6, 7-6 (7/5), 4-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-2. Del Potro and Federer have faced each other eight times with Del Potro winning the past two after Federer beat him six straight times.
Play began Sunday in the men’s draw at the tournament, which combines the Cincinnati Women’s Open and the Cincinnati Masters for the first time.