TORONTO: Novak Djokovic kicked off his North American hard court season with a clinical 6-3 6-2 win over Frenchman Richard Gasquet to clinch the Toronto Masters Sunday, marking the second consecutive year he has won the Canadian event.
The top-seeded Serbian, who won 12 months ago when the tournament was held in Montreal, made quick work of Gasquet, holding serve throughout a 61-minute match, during which he overwhelmed his opponent with an impressive arsenal of shots.
The win capped a wild week for Djokovic and a number of other players, who had little time to recover after competing at the London Olympics and then were forced to battle numerous rain delays that wreaked havoc on the playing schedule.
“It’s been a long week, a tough week, especially for the players coming from the Olympics but I am very glad that I came,” said Djokovic, who lost to Juan Martin Del Potro in the bronze medal match at the Olympics three days before his opening match here.
When the 14th-seeded Frenchman sent a return shot long in the final game, Djokovic raised both arms skyward and let out a loud roar in front of a capacity crowd that included Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
World No. 2 Djokovic broke Gasquet three times and won an astonishing 84 percent of his first service points en route to his 12th career ATP Masters title and third in Canada in the past five years.
Djokovic, who held serve in 50 of 51 games this week, also sent a warning shot to his rivals ahead of the U.S. Open in New York, where he will also be looking to repeat as champion following his win over Roger Federer last year.
Playing in a tournament that was without Federer and Rafa Nadal and lost Olympic champion Andy Murray early to a knee injury, Djokovic was the clear favorite and he proved he was up to the task the whole way.
Even after rain washed out an entire day of play, Djokovic showed barely any sign of fatigue when he was forced to play his quarterfinal match four hours after winning his last-16 encounter.
But despite showing his dominance on hard courts, Djokovic did not want to discuss when he expects to reclaim the world No. 1 ranking he lost earlier this year.
“I was just thinking about winning this tournament for the moment,” said Djokovic, who will now move onto the Cincinnati Masters.
“Rankings are going to follow up with the success you, as a player, have.”