Teen Djokovic Endures Canas for Miami Title

Posted on April 1, 2007

Serb 19-year-old Novak Djokovic became the youngest champion in the 23-year history of the Sony Ericsson Open when he defeated Argentine qualifier Guillermo Canas 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 to win his first ATP Masters Series title Sunday in Miami.

"Every time you win something or you are the youngest player or you make any record, I mean, it certainly feels great," said Djokovic who saved all five break points he faced in the final and held serve 59 of 60 service games through the tournament. "It means that your name is in the history of the sport. I am very proud of that. I know that I worked hard throughout all my career to reach this point, and I hope that this is just the beginning of a long career."

Djokovic will move from No. 10 to a career-high Ranking of No. 7 Monday following an outstanding four-week period which also saw him reach the final at Indian Wells.

"Right now I feel like probably for the first time in my career that I am on that level, that I deserve to be one of the three best players in the world right now," Djokovic added. "I think I proved with the win over Nadal this tournament. Of course, I still didn't win against Roger, but I hope that moment will come as well."

Djokovic is the fifth teenager to claim an ATP Masters Series title and is one month younger than Andre Agassi was when the American won the first of his six Miami titles in 1990.

The defining moment of the match came in the middle of the second set. Djokovic saved three break points in an eight-deuce, 20-minute game and then followed up by breaking Canas to love to take a 5-2 lead.

Early in the 3-2 game on Djokovic's serve Canas appeared to have reclaimed a break of serve when a Djokovic down-the-line forehand was called wide. But Djokovic challenged the call and the official review showed that the ball had grazed the outside of the line by the barest of margins.

As expected, the match was a battle of Djokovic's rich shotmaking variety and ability to hit winners from both wings against Canas's dogged retrieving. Djokovic already appeared to have the edge before Canas tweaked his left hamstring in the first set. Canas, who had played two qualifying and six main draw matches to reach the final, received treatment on his hamstring in the third set.

The win was Djokovic's second title of the year (Adelaide) and the fourth of his career.

Canas had defeated ATP World No. 1 Roger Federer for the second time in two tournaments en route to the final. He is 5-1 against Top 10 opponents in 2007 following his loss to Djokovic.

"I'm very happy I'm this far in the tournament," Canas said. "I think today I played a good match, and I think today I do everything I can to try to win.  I think Novak played very well and just played better than me. I had a few chances, not a lot, but a few, and he played very well that important moment. For that I think I don't have any set or any chance to do hard work."

Canas'Ranking, which was at No. 143 at the end of last season and No. 55 at the beginning of the tournament, will climb to around No. 31 by reaching the final.