The ATP Masters tournament in Toronto has come to an end, with only the final match between Novak Djokovic and Kei Nishikori to be played.
With Andy Murray, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal missing this tournament this was one of the weakest entry lists on this tournament in this decade, maybe even in this century. “The Big Four” is clearly slowing down, but as we saw here, next generation stars will have to improve a lot to finally end their reign, so we got two familiar faces and established top ten players in the finals.
Novak Djokovic played a solid tournament, after a shocking defeat against Sam Querrey on Wimbledon. He defeated Muller, Stepanek, Berdych and Monfils all in straight sets, although he didn’t pull out his A game in neither of those matches, but because of his win/loss ratio against these opponents (he has 51 cumulative victories against them and only 4 defeats!), it was expected that he would defeat them all in a routine fashion.
Nishikori had a slightly harder road to the finals – he defeated Novikov, Ram, Dimitrov and Wawrinka and only Dimitrov managed to take one set from him. His match against Wawrinka was flawless and Nishikori looked like a two years younger version of himself, when he reached the US Open finals, by defeating Djokovic in the semis.
Djokovic leads by 9:2 in head to head matches, but he also won their last seven encounters. In fact, the last victory for Nishikori was that US Open semifinal two years ago. Back then, when Nishikori equalized head to head score and defeated Djokovic on a major tournament, it was expected that he would find a way to counter him almost every time in future matches, like Djokovic did with Nadal, or Nadal did with Federer in the past. However, that didn’t happen, partly because Djokovic elevated his game to another level in 2015, partly because of the fact Nishikori had several injury problems. But, one thing is sure – Nishikori can play a tight match against Djokovic when he is in his best form.
On the other hand, Djokovic is certainly a favorite to win this one. He just lost the Wimbledon crown, he has the Olympics ahead of him, so the Toronto title certainly isn’t high on his priority list, but it would be a huge self confidence boost and a statement for other players that he just had a bad day in England last month and that he is still the undisputed world number one.