Flashback to Canada: Novak Djokovic defeats Pete Sampras to win the title

The emphasis on the men’s Tour in 2012 was on Novak Djokovic to live up to his historic 2011 season and protect the enormous number of points. The Serb was unable to repeat those figures, but his tennis was flawless.

With a sizable advantage over Roger Federer, he won six tournaments and finished the year as the top player. The Canada Open, which began play in Toronto barely one week after the dismal London Olympics, was one of the three titles he successfully defended. In two nail-biting matches in London, Novak lost to Andy Murray and Juan Martin del Potro, leaving him without any prizes.

In order to win the third title at that competition, Djokovic swiftly left Wimbledon grass behind him and competed at a high level in Canada. On August 12, the Serb defeated Richard Gasquet 6-3, 6-2 to win the match and claim the 12th Masters 1000 championship, passing Pete Sampras with the 11th.

With those 1000 points, Djokovic remained close to Roger Federer on the ATP ranking list while doing his utmost to defend those points and reclaim the top spot. In four matches against Bernard Tomic, Sam Querrey, Tommy Haas, and Janko Tipsarevic, Djokovic only once lost serve.

He found a comfortable rhythm, defeated the Frenchman in 62 minutes, and earned his seventh victory in eight matches. Novak lost eight points in nine service games while dominating the first and second serves. He saved all four break chances and increased the pressure on Richard, who was unable to handle it.

In Toronto 2012, Novak Djokovic won the Masters 1000 title for a record 12th time.

Only five of the seventeen second serves that Gasquet received were won, and he lost three of the three breaks that Novak was given to finish second in Canada for the second time.

Every phase was won by the Serb, who also won 29 of the 38 longest exchanges while making less unforced errors and more wins. Strangely, Richard scored three points in a row on the return for three break chances to start the match.

To avoid a sluggish start, Novak stopped them with solid striking and finished the match after his opponent’s backhand mistake. Gasquet was there with Djokovic in the opening six games, serving at a rate of above 80%. Nevertheless, he lost a break at love in game eight, giving Novak a 5-3 lead and the opportunity to serve for the opening set.

The defending champion looked determined to duplicate that performance in set number two as she held at love with an ace and scored 12 straight games for a score of 6-3 in 32 minutes. Richard needed to get out to a strong start, but that never occurred.

In the opening game, he committed a double fault that put Novak ahead and caused him to stray further from the championship. After dominating more prolonged exchanges and being unchallenged on serve after the first game of the match, Djokovic secured another hold at love to secure the break.

At 0-2 in the next game, Gasquet comfortably served out to stop his woes and set up a break opportunity. Djokovic stopped it with a well-planned attack, held at love in game six to go up 4-2, and then successfully defended the advantage with another strong point.

Following Novak’s two winners in game seven, Richard was helpless on the second serve and was broken. At 5-2, the Serb put an end to it with a service winner to win his third championship of the year and second consecutive one in Canada.