End-of-season reports 2012: Novak Djokovic

End-of-season reports 2012: Novak Djokovic
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Sports Mole looks back at another strong season for Novak Djokovic in 2012.

While Novak Djokovic was unable to replicate his all-dominating exploits of 2011, there's no doubting that 2012 was a resounding success for the Serbian.

The Australian Open was one of six titles that the 25-year-old picked up in a year that saw him start and end the season as world number one.

Djokovic threw himself straight into the Aussie Open in January and saw off home favourite Lleyton Hewitt and David Ferrer before a semi-final encounter with Andy Murray.

The pair took part in what many consider to be one of the stand-out matches of the season as Djokovic won a gruelling five-set contest to make it through to a final against Rafael Nadal.

Amid the tense humidity of the Melbourne night, the top two players in the world were on court for a record-breaking five hours and 53 minutes before the Serb got his hands on the first Grand Slam of the year.

He was knocked out in the semi-finals of Dubai and Indian Wells by John Isner and Murray respectively but concluded his hard-court campaign with a routine victory over the Scot in the final of the Miami Masters.

Defeat to Nadal in the final of the Monte Carlo Masters began what was an indifferent two months on clay, with a surprise quarter-final defeat to countryman Janko Tipsarevic following in Madrid.

Djokovic then came through Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Roger Federer on his way to the final of the Rome Masters, where he was once more undone by Nadal.

Onto the French Open, and triumphs again over Tsonga and Federer put the world number one on course for yet another final encounter with Nadal.

There was a strong feeling that if anyone could dethrone Nadal as the King of Clay then it would be Djokovic, but a rain-delayed match eventually saw the Spaniard win his seventh crown at Roland Garros.

Djokovic headed to London in June to defend his Wimbledon title, though defeat to eventual champion Federer in the semis served as a double blow as it meant that he lost his place at the top of the rankings.

He returned to SW19 one month later to represent Serbia in the Olympics, yet it was more heartbreak for Djokovic on grass as a loss to Juan Martin del Potro saw him miss out on a second consecutive medal at the Games following his bronze in 2008.

A somewhat painful summer was made better with victory over Richard Gasquet in the final of the Rogers Cup in August but defeat was just around the corner again in the form of Federer in the final at Cincinatti.

Djokovic was at his imperious best in the US Open at the end of the month, only to be beaten by old friend Andy Murray as the Scot clinched the first Slam of his career.

Still, the loss was softened when he retained his China Open title before gaining a measure of revenge over Murray by beating him to claim the Shanghai Masters.

Djokovic was stunned by Sam Querrey in the second round of the Paris Masters in October, but he managed to regain his number one ranking before defeating Federer to win the ATP World Tour Finals for a second time and end the season deservedly as the best in the business.

David Ferrer
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