Reuters) – Novak Djokovic stopped American Mardy Fish 6-2 3-6 6-4 to win the Montreal Masters on Sunday, capping his competitive debut as world number one with a record-setting title.
The sensational 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 tournament on debut as number one 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 honour 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,” said Fish. “I had a lot of chances in that first set and ended up losing.
“If you try to forget who you’re playing against, you’re just playing another player, maybe you can figure out a way to get a break or two there.
“I mean, there’s a reason why he’s won so many matches this year … He’s got to be leading the tour in break-points saved … among other things.”
The 29-year-old American failed to convert five break-points in the first four games. Djokovic, however, 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 U.S. Open title to his Wimbledon crown and two Australian Open championships, Djokovic will continue his buildup to the year’s final grand slam at Cincinnati next week where he could extend his record to six Masters Series titles in a season.
“I probably had a little mental advantage when you get on the court knowing that you’re the player to beat,” he added.
“But, on the other hand, it adds the pressure and expectations as well because you are a favourite to win each match you play, whoever you play against.”