Novak Djokovic saved five match points before recovering to beat Andy Murray in the Shanghai Masters tennis final yesterday for his second straight tournament win. Victoria Azarenka also has back-to-back titles.
Serbia’s Djokovic, ranked No. 2 on the ATP World Tour, and Azarenka of Belarus, the leading women’s player, both won at the China Open the previous week.
Djokovic, 25, beat the third-ranked Murray 5-7, 7-6 (13-11), 6-3 in a 3 hour, 21-minute match at the Qi Zhong Tennis Center. It extended his winning streak to 10 matches since losing to the Briton in last month’s U.S. Open final and boosted his chances of taking the No. 1 spot from Switzerland’s Roger Federer.
“I’m trying to focus now on the end of the season,” Djokovic said in comments on the ATP World Tour’s website. “I need to try to stay consistent with my results and eventually get a shot at No. 1 of the world. It’s my biggest objective in this moment.”
Murray, 25, winner of the title in Shanghai the past two years, edged an opening set that included seven breaks of serve. Djokovic smashed his racket in frustration after losing his serve to go 5-6 down.
It took until the seventh game of the second set to see another service break, Murray moving ahead when his opponent volleyed into the net.
Murray, served for the match at 5-4, but Djokovic saved match point. Murray was then unable to convert four more match points in the tie-break, which Djokovic eventually won with a volley. That prompted another racket-smashing, this time by the Scot.
Djokovic took control of the final set with a break to lead 4-3 and two games later broke again to secure his fifth title of the year.
“It’s difficult to judge who was better because it was so close throughout the whole match,” Djokovic said. “When I faced those match points, I tried to focus on each individually. He was so close to the victory that I cannot say I was better.”
Azarenka collected her sixth WTA title of 2012 with a 6-3, 6-4 victory against Germany’s Julia Goerges in Linz, Austria. The 23-year-old is also unbeaten since the U.S. Open and has a tour-leading 67 match wins this season.
Azarenka built a 5-0 lead in the second set before losing the next four games, although held on to complete the win on her fifth match point.
In Osaka, Heather Watson became the first British woman to win a WTA title in 24 years with a 7-5, 5-7, 7-6 (7-4) victory against Chinese Taipei’s Kai-Chen Chang in the HP Open final.
There were 33 break points in the match, with each player breaking seven times.
Watson, 20, was not even born when Sara Gomer took a title in California in 1988 for the last British success on the tour.