Djokovic outlasts Berdych for Monte Carlo crown

Monte Carlo, Monaco ( – Novak Djokovic continued his strong
start to the 2015 season with a three-set victory Sunday over Tomas Berdych in
the final of the Monte Carlo Masters.

Djokovic waited out a rain delay and survived a hiccup in the second set to
claim a 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 victory, earning the prestigious clay court title for a
second time. He previously won the tournament in 2013, ending Rafael Nadal’s
eight-year reign as champion.

The top-seeded Djokovic also beat Nadal in the semifinals on Saturday and has
now won 17 straight matches since a loss to Roger Federer in the Dubai final.
He also became the first man to win each of the year’s first three Masters
titles after a sweep at Indian Wells and Miami earlier this spring.

“The fact that now I won three Masters in a row and nobody ever has done that,
of course I’m aware of that,” said Djokovic. “That has given me more
motivation. I’m very proud of what I have achieved. It can only serve as an
incentive, imperative for what’s coming up.”

Djokovic has lost only twice this year, falling to Ivo Karlovic in the
quarterfinals of the season opener in Qatar before winning the Australian

Berdych hadn’t dropped a set this week en route to the final and opened the
match Sunday with a break of Djokovic’s serve. The Serb broke back soon after
and broke again for a 5-3 lead, but Berdych immediately returned the favor for

Djokovic, though, broke again to capture the first set and held a 3-2 lead in
the second before rain interrupted play. The nearly one-hour break appeared to
favor Berdych, who broke for a 4-3 lead and won four of the last five games to
force a decisive third.

The world No. 1, however, opened a quick 4-0 advantage in the third with a
pair of breaks and soon after wrapped up his 52nd career title. He improved to
52-23 in finals, including 4-1 this year, and notched his 23rd career Masters
shield to tie Federer for second all-time, behind only Nadal’s 27.

Berdych fell to 10-17 all-time in finals and also dropped to 2-19 lifetime
against Djokovic. Two of those losses have come this year, as the Czech also
lost a three-set semifinal in Dubai.

“I left him a big gap in the third set,” said Berdych. “That was the decider,
definitely. It was really just about a couple of points that didn’t go my way.
He defended them very well. I was making him run all the way through those
three sets. There was just a couple of things that didn’t go as I would like

Bob and Mike Bryan won the doubles crown with a 7-6 (7-3), 6-1 triumph over
the Italian duo of Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini, giving the Americans
their 106th career team title.