August 12, 2012
Djokovic spanks Gasquet in Rogers Cup final
By DAVE POLLARD, QMI Agency
TORONTO - With darkening skies threatening to put a damper on his impending victory celebration, Novak Djokovic wanted to avoid blowing a gasket.
Instead, he simply blew away a Gasquet.
That would be Richard Gasquet, if you didn't know.
The Serbian tennis machine took no chances on the rain staying away -- you couldn't blame him, given that three of his four previous matches here were postponed or delayed by lousy weather -- and disposed of Gasquet as quickly as possible to win his second straight Rogers Cup title and the third of his career, which is approaching legendary status.
Djokovic made Gasquet his most recent victim on the hard courts, defeating the 26-year-old Frenchman 6-3, 6-2 in barely more than an hour Sunday at the Rexall Centre.
Watching the way the tourney's top seed completely dismantled Gasquet after rolling through the draw despite being tired and, perhaps, emotionally spent after an unsuccessful Olympic tournament, it's hard not to think Djokovic will go into the upcoming U.S. Open as the favourite. The dominant performance was Djokovic's 25th win in 27 hard-court matches in 2012 and ran his head-to-head record against Gasquet to 7-1.
Somehow, Djokovic was able to put his emotionally draining finish at the Olympics -- he failed to win a medal, losing to eventual winner Andy Murray in the semis and Juan Martin Del Potro in the bronze medal match -- behind him to put together a title run at the Rogers Cup.
He started the tournament a little slow but got better as it went along.
"I'm very happy to be in this position," he said. "Truly I did not expect myself to win this tournament, you know, after the emotional losses in the Olympic Games. I really took it hard. I tried to bounce back and recover. I've done great, I have to say.
"The two losses that I had in three days in the Olympic Games gave me even more desire to come here and perform my best and try to win a title."
But how good was Djokovic in the final?
Well, put it this way: Gasquet, a former world No. 7 who owns one of the trickiest backhands in the game, knocked out three of the tournament's top 11 players -- in order, fourth-seeded Tomas Berdych, No. 11 Mardy Fish and, finally, eighth-seeded John Isner -- so he's not exactly a slug. In fact, Djokovic believes Gasquet, a former child prodigy in France, is worthy of top-10 status.
But he made Gasquet look like a guy facing an immediate future as a club pro.
Sure, he stayed close to Djokovic for the first seven games of the opening set but a break to give the eventual champ a 5-4 lead was the only opening he'd need. In the second set, Djokovic steamrolled him.
"I could do better but when you play Novak, he has a very good level, so it's tough to play against him," Gasquet said. "When you're losing (against) a guy like him, it's very difficult to come back.
"It's tough when you have Djokovic in front of you and you are not playing your best tennis. He's an incredible player."
Although Murray, Federer and Rafael Nadal, who didn't play in the Rogers Cup due to an injury, have gotten most of the attention recently, this win should put Djokovic firmly into the mix to win the U.S. Open in September. If nothing else, it should start the chatter about who is the favourite at Flushing Meadows.
"I really don't pay much attention to the talks," Djokovic said. "My job is to win every match that I play (in) and try to get as many titles as possible. Andy and Roger were the best two players in the last month and a half. It shifts, it changes."