By Ros Satar

  • Novak Djokovic [1] v Kei Nishikori [4]
  • H2H: Djokovic leads 9-2
TORONTO, CANADA – Novak Djokovic looks for a record 30th Masters title when he faces Kei Nishikori in the final of the Rogers Cup.

 

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Djokovic might have eased past Gael Monfils in the semi-final score-wise, but if the Frenchman had been able to capitalise on some weak serving from the Serbian, it could have been a different story. Coming in off a nine match winning streak, it was always going to be a stretch to try and get his first win.

As it took Djokovic a while to get firing, Monfils might rue his missed chances to put him under pressure, as the World No. 1 picked up the pace for a 6-3 6-2 win over the flamboyant Frenchman.

In the first semi-final of the day, Stan Wawrinka, who had looked steady throughout the tournament came undone fairly spectacularly at the end against Nishikori. It had looked all so routine for the No. 2 seed as he leapt out to a 5-2 lead over Nishikori, who is playing his first tournament since retiring in his fourth round match at Wimbledon.

Getting the break back he hung on determinedly before a momentum-swinging tie-break edged by the Japanese player. As Wawrinka seemed to collapse in the second set, Nishikori raced past him for a 7-6(6) 6-1 victory and a chance to contest his second Masters title of the year.

His only two wins against Djokovic have come at Basel (2011) and of course the US Open semi-final in 2014 on top of some already very brutal five-setters which ultimately left him spent in the final.

Since then it has been decidedly one-way traffic for Djokovic. He defeated Nishikori very straightforwardly in the Miami final earlier this year, but in the Rome semi-final, Nishikori forced him to come back from a set down.

With a chance to win a record-extending 30th Masters, Djokovic will hope that his serving is back in his tool-kit. Nishikori can ill-afford another slow start on Sunday and will have to rely on his fleet-footedness around the court to pull Djokovic off the baseline – he cannot hope to come out on top of the gruelling rallies Djokovic likes to inflict on his foes from the baseline.

Prediction: Djokovic in three sets.

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