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ATP Miami Open: Novak Djokovic crushes Kei Nishikori in final, moves past legends with historic win

"It was my best performance of the tournament," Djokovic said.  

AFP| Updated: Apr 04, 2016, 03:56 AM IST
ATP Miami Open: Novak Djokovic crushes Kei Nishikori in final, moves past legends with historic win

Florida: Top-ranked Novak Djokovic completed a historic ATP Miami Open title run Sunday, matching Andre Agassi`s career-record six tournament crowns while surpassing Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Boris Becker on three impressive lists.

The 28-year-old Serbian captured his third consecutive Miami trophy and fifth in six seasons by downing Japanese sixth seed Kei Nishikori 6-3, 6-3.

"It was my best performance of the tournament," Djokovic said. "It came at the right time against a great player."

By taking home the $1.028 million (902,000 euros) top prize, Djokovic surpassed Federer as the all-time ATP earnings leader, his $98,199,548 nudging him beyond the $97,855,881 of the Swiss 17-time Grand Slam champion, who pulled out of Miami with a stomach virus.

Djokovic also took a record 28th career ATP Masters title, one better than the old mark he shared with Spain`s Nadal.

"The fact I managed to win the most Masters ever is a remarkable achievement I`m very proud of," Djokovic said.

And he won his 714th career match, moving to 11th on the all-time list, one more than his coach, German six-time Grand Slam champion Becker.

"I`m grateful and proud of all the achievements," Djokovic said. "To put myself in position to have the records and be in the history books is a great accomplishment. But I didn`t think much about it before the match. It didn`t serve as a distraction. Hopefully I can make many more records."

With a smile, Djokovic noted: "Boris`s wins by far is the most important one. I had a phone call with him. We had a laugh about it."Djokovic, who claimed his 63rd career ATP title, stretched his Miami win streak to 16 matches with his 30th victory in 31 starts over five years. His first Masters win came at Miami in 2007 and still inspires him.

"It has been a springboard for everything that has come after," Djokovic said. "Opened a lot of doors for me. Made me realize I could beat the best players in the world."

Djokovic improved to 28-1 this year, the lone loss coming when an eye problem forced a Dubai quarter-final retirement against Spain`s Feliciano Lopez.

Djokovic, who in January won at Doha and captured an 11th career Grand Slam title at the Australian Open, also swept the US double of Miami and Indian Wells for the third year in a row and fourth time overall.

"The most successful month of my career is March," Djokovic said. "I enjoy these two tournaments the most of any in my career."

The only other man with three Miami crowns in a row was Agassi from 2001-2003.

Nishikori, who made 30 unforced errors against just 10 winners, suffered his sixth consecutive loss in meetings with Djokovic, who leads their career rivalry 7-2.

"It was a tough match," Nishikori said. "Playing Novak is always a great challenge for me."Djokovic, who didn`t drop a set at Miami, broke Nishikori in four of his first five service games to seize command.

"He played great tennis. That`s why I couldn`t play like I wanted," Nishikori said. "My serve wasn`t going. It was a shame to have that because he had a great return and I felt a lot of pressure on my service games. He played good and I could have played a little better."

Djokovic took advantage of a Nishikori miss-hit backhand to break in the eighth game and held at love to grab the opening set after 34 minutes.

Nishikori surrendered a break to begin the second set with consecutive errant backhands.

"Second set I tried to change, tried to be more aggressive," Nishikori said. "I was missing a lot with my forehand. Too many unforced errors to beat him."

Nishikori, who said his left knee was fine despite having a trainer treat it in the second set, hit a forehand long to be broken to end the match after 86 minutes.

"It`s tough to find his weakness," Nishikori said. "He has great defense. It`s tough to break his game. He was very patient and he didn`t miss."

As part of his victory celebration, Djokovic kissed his left hand and patted it on the court several times.

"I certainly hope the love affair continues in the years to come," Djokovic said.

Nishikori, 26, was in only his second career ATP Masters final, after Madrid in 2014, while Djokovic was in his 11th consecutive such final, improving his record in that run to 56-2.

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