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World No.2 Novak Djokovic marched on relentless in defence of his 2011 Canadian Masters title as he defeated compatriot Janko Tipsarevic 6-4, 6-1 in rain delayed semifinal. The pair were forced off court midway through the 6th game of the first set in what was a tight tussle. Once they returned though, it was Djokovic who eventually took charge after a close opening set as he surged into his 21st Masters series final.
In the final he will play the resurgent Richard Gasquet who defused John Isner in straight sets 7-6(3), 6-3. It was a day where Gasquetâ€™s flair and artistry triumphed over Isnerâ€™s more metronomic approach as the Frenchman turned on the style to make his 3rd Masters Series final. Djokovic holds a 6-1 H2H advantage over the Frenchman as he attempts to win his 12th Masters Series shield in the final later tonight.
Novak Djokovic came into the tournament as a near prohibitive favourite given the withdrawals of the World No.1 Federer, French Open champion Nadal and the mid tournament pullout by Olympic Champion Murray. The Serb however had demons of his own to conquer following a relative slump in recent months going titleless since March this year. The return to the hardcourts of North America was probably the best for the Djoker in this regard since it is his best surface, the one he moves the best on and the one that most favours his brand of tennis. This certainly proved true through this tournament and indeed through this match as the Djokovic that dominated 2011 was increasingly on display as he served smartly, unleashed with his forehand and was able to stay on top in the rallies with his superbly grooved groundstrokes.
The story of the semifinal was one of two halves. The first set of the semi final was a tough contest as Tipsarevic took the fight to his more illustrious compatriot stretching Djokovic to the limit. The duo traded hammerblow after hammerblow off both wings in a high quality display of tennis, as they stayed on serve despite numerous forays into each others serving games. Serving to stay in the set though, Tipsarevicâ€™s resistance finally yielded as Djokovicâ€™s ability to hit deep off a defensive position finally drew the crucial errors to edge the break and the first set 6-4. The second set was relatively plain sailing for the top seeded Serb as he began to hold more comfortably while continuing to pressurize Tipsarevicâ€™s delivery. The defending champion eventually finished in a hurry winning the final 5 games from 1-1 in the second set to make his 4th Masters Series final this year.
Earlier the first semifinal also had a delayed start due to the rain. Once play got underway though it was clear which player had the upper hand. Richard Gasquet held serve with ridiculous ease dropping just 4 points off his delivery through the first set. The World No.21 has rarely done justice to his immense talent but his stroke production was at its highest quality today as time after time he whirled his racquet like a wand to come up with a shot that left the big man rooted to the floor. He pressurised the Isner serve right through the first set, but Isner to his credit staved off the break points and came up with the big serves on the big points to take the set into the tie-break. Once there though, Gasquet was untouchable as he took an early 3-0 lead which he eventually extended finishing the set off in style with an overhead smash. The second set progressed in much the same vein as Gasquet continued to hold with ease and harry the American on his serve. Isner did his best to resist but the unrelenting pressure finally told as Gasquet broke the Isner serve in an extended 6th game with an exquisite backhand pass. That solitary break was good enough as Gasquet held firm to progress to his first Masters Series final since 2006 coincidentally also at Toronto.
R.Gasquet d J.Isner 7/6(3), 6/3
N.Djokovic d J.Tipsarevic 6/4, 6/1
File Photograph Copyright: Italian Open
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