Hi folks. So today I couldn’t watch the whole final but as far as I was concerned the final had already been played. Actually today’s match turned out to be a way more competitive match than the Djokodal semi, as far as the scoreline goes anyway. The scoreline of the Djokodal match was somewhat deceiving because they always play at a very high intensity and high-quality tennis. Credit to Berdych though because from what I saw he played well and he can be a very awkward opponent.
He has also been very consistent this year and lies second in the race behind Djokovic. I think the fact that Djokovic led the head-to-head 18-2 going into this match actually counted in Berdych’s favor because the odds of getting a win over a player who has a huge lead in the head-to-head increase the bigger the lead gets. We saw what happened at the Australian Open this year when Nadal led Berdych 18-3 in the head-to-head and Berdych defeated Nadal in straight sets.
But Djokovic is just playing too well at the moment for that to happen and found a way to win.
- Opening set
As was the case against Nadal, Djokovic dropped serve in the opening game and trailed 0-2 against an inspired Berdych. This time he didn’t break back straight away, but he did get the break in the sixth game to tie at 3-3. He then also broke in the eighth game to take a 5-3 lead and serve for the set. Berdych was not gonna watch Djokovic turn things around that easily though and this time it was him who broke back and then he leveled at 5-5. Djokovic held serve and at 6-5 and 40-15 he had two set points on the Berdych serve.
Look out Nadal, he’s coming…
Berdych saved both but on a third break point Djokovic made no mistake as he blasted a mid-court ball from Berdych down the line to force the error and take the opening set. So there were many momentum swings in the first set with a total of five breaks of serve. But by winning it Djokovic set the tone for the match and made sure that he remained the favorite for the title, despite facing an inspired Berdych.
- Second set
Since Berdych has been in a rich vein of form this year and in Monte Carlo he wasn’t just gonna roll over and hand Djokovic the title after the opening set. He kept up his high-quality tennis and broke Djokovic in the crucial seventh game after a long baseline exchange, which consisted of Berdych moving Djokovic from corner to corner with big ground strokes and finally forcing the error after another big forehand down the line. Then at 5-4 Berdych made no mistake as he held serve to 15 to win the set.
- The decider
So it was down to a one set shoot-out to decide who would take home the coveted 2015 Monte Carlo Masters title. As you would expect Djokovic took the initiative as he broke in the second game and never looked back to win the decider 6-3. Not that Berdych didn’t put up more stern resistance. At 1-4 and 30-30 there was another impressive point which Berdych won with an outright forehand winner. Then in the next game he set up a break point after yet another one of those impressive points which Berdych won with an outright backhand winner.
When he hits those groundstrokes they sure stay hit. But Djokovic held on and at 5-3 and 40-15 Berdych steered a backhand return long which gave Djokovic his second Monte Carlo title and 23rd Masters title, equaling him with Roger.
- Some closing observations
We gotta admit Djokovic is carving out a pretty impressive legacy for himself. Equaling Roger with Masters titles won is no small feat and it’s almost scary to think how many he can still win. You would think he will surpass Nadal on 27 Masters titles, even though Nadal may add a few more. Nadal is going to struggle to get by Djokovic at Masters anyway, even on clay as we saw this week. Personally I wouldn’t mind seeing the Djoker pull away from Roger in Masters titles and surpass Nadal.
Masters do not determine who is the GOAT and I don’t like the fact that Nadal racked up so many Masters on clay. As is the case in slam titles his resume is very unbalanced in Masters, because of the 27 Masters titles he won only 8 was off of clay. If there was at least one grass Masters, which there should be, he would already have won less and Roger would probably be ahead of him. So I wouldn’t mind if Djokovic surpasses Nadal in this regard as he has a more balanced Masters resume and deserves it more.
Facts are facts Nadal fans you can’t deny them. To get back to today’s match Berdych made a very respectable showing and like I said he is an awkward opponent, all be it a one-dimensional one. He puts a lot of heat on those groundstrokes and serves, and even on clay he can hit through the court quite easily. But in the end it was probably Djokovic’s unreal movement and backhand which won the day. No matter how hard Berdych hits the ball he still gets to most balls and has the control of a brain surgeon on that backhand.
Nothing in it here
He can turn defense into attack with it in an instant. I think it was a great final with many twists and turns and I am happy for the crowd. Berdych played as well as he could but in the end Djokovic just had that little extra which is why he is the best player in the world. It is quite astonishing how he just keeps up this unbelievable quality and like I said the only player who could play at a higher level for longer periods was the GOAT Roger Federer himself. Really it is quite impressive to see and very enjoyable at the same time.
Especially the way he beats Nadal like a drum. Now he just needs to beat him where he is the most difficult to beat, which will probably result in him completing the career slam and Nadal contemplating retirement. That is surely number one on his list of priorities now as far as carving out a legacy goes. Given what I saw from him this week I wouldn’t bet against him either. He will now take a welcome two-week break and come storming back in Madrid and Rome. He could probably win both of those too given his current form.
But tomorrow Barcelona will start where Nishikori will be back as the number one seed and defending champion, and I see Ferrer is in the bottom half of the draw with Nadal which is good to see. The week after that it is the inaugural tournament in Istanbul where Roger will be the top seed of course. Hopefully he can at least win the title there to get some momentum going on the clay. So there is a busy time ahead and I will keep you updated on the action as well as I can.
Thanks for taking part this week and helping to make this the ultimate tennis blog!
Ps. Forgot to add Djokovic became the first player to win the first three Masters of the season.
The is in your court.