For the second consecutive week, Serb Novak Djokovic quieted a hometown crowd. At the BNP Paribas Masters final, third seed Djokovic defeated fifteenth seed Gael Monfils 6-2,5-7,7-6 to disappoint Monfils in his own backyard.
With Roger Federer and Andy Murray shown the exist early on, Monfils took complete advantage of this golden opportunity to make the finals. However, in the first set, Monfils revealed his inexperience as this was his first career Masters’ final. At 1-2, Gael’s forehand crosscourt sailed long giving Novak his initial break point. Djokovic capitalized when Monfils’ forehand down the line went off course. After consolidating at love, Djokovic took a 4-1 edge. By picking on Monfils’ forehand, the Serb dominated the first set which ended with a second break courtesy of a Monfils double fault.
With the opening set lasting less than 30 minutes, Djokovic appeared on his way to a swift victory. Novak was gifted a sleuth of errors by Gael to go ahead 2-0. Moreover, with a forehand winner, Djokovic widen his lead to 3-0. As Monfils served at 40-0, Djokovic converted a couple of forehand winners to reach deuce. With consecutive aces, Monfils was able to keep the deficit to 1-3. Undoubtedly, this was a turning point in the match. Subsequently, when Djokovic’s forehand crosscourt landed long, Monfils arrived at his first break point of the day. With Djokovic dumping a backhand volley into the net, the players were back on serve. With an energized crowd urging him on, Monfils held at love to level the set at 3 all. Now embolden, Monfils manufactured another break chance as Djokovic’s forehand started to falter. But, Djokovic recovered with two forehand winners to remain on top at 4-3. Later though, with a deep return, Monfils obtained a forehand mistake from Djokovic for another break opportunity at 5 all. By being aggressive on Djokovic’s serve, Monfils was rewarded with another forehand error and a break. Monfils easily won the next game to bag the set.
The beginning of the decisive set was a copy of the last. With three consecutive forehand mistakes, Monfils handed Djokovic triple break point. Djokovic got the better of Monfils in a 43 stroke rally to go up 2-0. Yet, when Novak’s forehands failed to find their marks, the players were back on serve. But, after another erratic game by Monfils, including two straight double faults, Djokovic had the advantage at 3-1 and consolidated at love for 4-1. Still, again, that was not sufficient. As Djokovic served at 4-2, Monfils goaded him into forehand errors and a double fault to steal the break. Thereafter, each player refused to give an inch. As a result, the set’s proprietor was settled by a tiebreaker. After both men commenced pristinely, Monfils fired a forehand long giving Djokovic a mini-break for 4-2. From there, Monfils’ play collapsed. The match terminated with a Monfils double fault which gift wrapped the championship for his rival.
For Djokovic, this was his first Masters’ shield of the year. Had Monfils prevailed, he would have ended the season in the top 10 for the first time in his career. After the beat down Djokovic performed on Rafael Nadal in the semifinals and with this victory, Novak seems well positioned to repeat as champion in London at World Tour Finals.