Novak Djokovic has equalled Rafael Nadal’s staggering 35 Masters titles at the Western and Southern Open after he won the first Tour competition back.
The world number one was pushed far in the final, as he had to overcome a much revived and rejuvenated looking Milos Raonic, who was the surprise package of the return tournament played at Flushing Meadows.
The Canadian won the first set 6-1 with Djokovic looking rather bereft out on court. But the former Wimbledon finalist was not able to fight off the resurgence of the Serb who eventually won the match 1-6 6-3 6-4 and had to fight back from being a break of serve down in the third set.
The 17 time Grand Slam winner was forced to show a lot of grit towards the back end of the week, after he also had to come back from a one set deficit against the tricky Roberto Bautista-Agut.
The Spaniard had beaten Djokovic twice in their last three meetings, and after clinching the first set 6-4 he would have felt good to be on for a third and a place in the final. However the world number one showed too much resilience in this tie too.
Bautista Agut served for the match in a deciding set, only to be broken back and lose a consequential tiebreak 7-0.
Djokovic is the only one of the ‘Big Three’ playing this year’s revised US schedule, after Nadal and Roger Federer both pulled out of playing last week’s event, and the US Open this week coming.
It was a brilliant week for the British men in the draw, as Andy Murray made his long awaited return to action. The two time Wimbledon champion stunned viewers at home as he defeated world number seven Alexander Zverev across three sets in the second round. The Scot had previously battled to a three set victory over American wildcard Frances Tiafoe in the first round.
Murray however was disappointed with his third round performance as he was wiped aside by Raonic 6-2 6-2, a player he previously had a 9-3 record against.
Dan Evans also impressed for the Brits. He upset 10th seed young gun Andrey Rublev who was playing well before the suspension, winning the title in Adelaide and being ranked 5th in the Race to London rankings. The British number one won that one 7-5 6-3 6-2 before himself being knocked out by the incredible Raonic 6-3 7-5.
This week sees the beginning of the US Open 2020. Only the second Grand Slam to be played this year following the Covid-19 pandemic, Djokovic will lead the field with Dominic Thiem seeded second. Thiem will hope to recover from a poor showing this last week as he was knocked out in round two by eventual quarter finalist Filip Krajinovic 6-2 6-1.