Novak Djokovic took down Andy Murray in the Shanghai Masters to win his ATP-leading 70th match of the season. (Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)
The Report Card hands out grades for the week in tennis. This week, Novak Djokovic emerged from a stacked field at the Shanghai Masters and Victoria Azarenka blitzed the field in Linz.
Novak Djokovic: A-plus. How good of a week was it for Djokovic? His resilient comeback victory over Andy Murray in the Shanghai final was only one of a series of achievements. By making the final, Djokovic became only the second active player to do so in all nine of the current ATP Masters 1000 tournaments as well as the four Grand Slams. The other? Roger Federer. But if catching Federer on that metric wasn’t enough, the Serb’s Shanghai title moved him past Federer as the first player to win seven of the current Masters 1000 titles. This may just be one of the most underrated accomplishments of Djokovic’s career. (That can happen when, you know, you go on a 46-match winning streak). The only two Masters shields eluding him are Monte Carlo — aka Rafa’s sandbox — and Cincinnati. Given his hard-court prowess and the fact that he’s made the final of Cincy four of the last five years, it’s hard not to think he has eight in the cards.
Needless to say, it was a strong two weeks for Djokovic, who won back-to-back titles in Beijing and Shanghai and closed within a mere 195 points of Federer’s No. 1 ranking. It couldn’t have gone any better for the 25-year-old, who’ll get two weeks off before the final push at the Paris Masters and World Tour Finals.
Victoria Azarenka: A. After all these years of WTA No. 1s who must go out of their ways every week to prove that they deserve their spot in the penthouse, how nice it is to see Azarenka take her No. 1 ranking and practically shove it in our faces. One week after winning Beijing without dropping a set, Azarenka rolled through the Linz field to tie Serena Williams with her sixth title of the year. How’s this for domination: Azarenka has lost an average of just under two games per set since the U.S. Open.