Novak Djokovic beat Andy Murray 6-2, 6-4 in the BNP Paribas Masters 2015 final to set a new record for Masters titles won in a single year, grabbing his sixth of the season, per tennis writer Carole Bouchard. The Serb already held the previous record of five, which was set in 2011.
Djokovic dominated Murray from start to finish, once again showing why he's considered one of the world's best returners. Murray held his own in the rallies but never found his serve on the slower hard court in Paris.
Djokovic has been in sensational form since the US Open and he instantly put heaps of pressure on Murray's serve. Fans in Paris were treated to a 20-shot rally on just the second point, but it wasn't a preview of what was to come.
Murray barely held his serve in the opening game, couldn't even steal a point on Djokovic's serve and immediately gave up three break points in the third game. The world No. 1 needed just one, and Juan Jose Vallejo of Rolling Stone knew he had seen this all before:
Murray tried putting more pressure on Djokovic's serve, with limited success, and the Scot continued to struggle with his own. Djokovic's return game was just too good, stepping further and further into the court with every service game.
The Serb showed his class midway through the first set when one of Murray's thundering serves was called out, and the Scot decided to challenge. Despite being on a hard court, Djokovic immediately conceded the point. Carl Bialik of FiveThirtyEight was impressed by the act of sportsmanship:
But in the grand scheme of things, it hardly seemed to matter. Djokovic won the final three games of the first set, finishing things off with a dominant service game.
Murray actually hit more winners than Djokovic in the first set, but a wide discrepancy in unforced errors (19-8) meant the first set was never close, via Live Tennis. Juan Jose Vallejo felt those statistics weren't Murray's fault:
The Scot was determined not to drop another set in embarrassing fashion and started the second with a lot more aggression. Sending his serve slightly deeper into the court, he quickly jumped out to a 40-15 lead and ended up holding his serve.
Djokovic immediately answered, however, and grabbed yet another break in the next game. He seemed ready to blast his way through Murray again on his way to another easy set win, but out of nowhere, Murray broke back to love.
An epic game on Murray's serve followed, which saw several big rallies, with Murray eventually pulling through with a massive drop shot. Suddenly, momentum seemed to shift, with the Scot finding his range in the return game as well. Tennis writer Chris Goldsmith was surprised by the change in pattern:
Djokovic managed to hold his serve thanks to a couple of wonderful sliced shots, keeping his opponent moving, and he forced another break in the next game to take a 4-3 lead.
Murray fought back and nearly broke with a beautiful forehand winner, but Djokovic held. He was unable to finish the match on the Scot's serve but wrapped up the title in the next game, keeping his undefeated streak since the US Open going.
Djokovic looks absolutely unstoppable heading into the Barclays ATP World Tour finals in London, set to start on Sunday, November 15. He has won the last three editions of the tournament and has arguably never entered the Finals in better form than he does in 2015.
He's been absolutely fantastic against the world's best player, carrying a 27-4 record against top 10 players heading into the tournament, per the New York Times' Christopher Clarey. It will take a truly monumental effort from the likes of Murray to keep the Serb from adding another title to his resume in London.
As reported by Yahoo's Julien Pretot, Djokovic mainly felt pride at winning his fourth BNP Paribas Masters title, saying: "I am obviously very proud and very happy to win this title again, it's a great tournament and all the best players in the world were here."
Murray thanked the crowd for a wonderful week and admitted Djokovic is having a season for the ages, via BBC Sport's Stephan Shemilt:
Thanks to all the crowd for coming out and supporting, I look forward to coming back next year.
Congratulations to Novak on another fantastic week. It's been a great year for him again. He fully deserves the number one spot, hopefully I can get a little bit closer next year.
Thank you to my team. It's been a great week for me, the first time past the quarter-finals here. It's progress and I'll try next year to go one better.