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Novak Djokovic captured the storylines in the third quarter of the 2015 season.

Djokovic Tops Q3 Storylines As Race Intensifies

ATPWorldTour.com looks back on the major talking points, breakthroughs, statistics and milestones from the third quarter of the 2015 season

Novak King Of 2015
Novak Djokovic remains at the pinnacle of the ATP World Tour and no one can knock him from his perch in 2015. Following his 10th Grand Slam triumph at the US Open, the Serb clinched the year-end World No. 1 spot in the Emirates ATP Rankings for the fourth time. With seemingly no end in sight, Djokovic is guaranteed to be the first player to hold the top spot in every week during a season since Roger Federer in 2007, joining Lleyton Hewitt, Pete Sampras, Ivan Lendl and Jimmy Connors as the only men to achieve the feat. The numbers continue to amaze, as Djokovic added two ATP World Tour Masters 1000 finals, in Montreal and Cincinnati, and a major crown at the US Open, in the third quarter of the 2015 season. Read: Novak Clinches Year-End No. 1

“I feel more fulfilled,” said Djokovic following his victory in New York. “I feel more complete as a player. I’m physically stronger, mentally more experienced, and tougher, as well… That's why I'm playing this sport, because, first of all, I enjoy it, I love it, have passion for it, and then to fight for the biggest trophies.”

Djokovic, who previously finished the year at No. 1 in 2011, ‘12 and ’14, is the sixth player to do so on four or more occasions, following in the footsteps of Pete Sampras (6), Jimmy Connors and Roger Federer (5), Ivan Lendl and John McEnroe (4). The Serb owns a staggering 63-5 win-loss match record in 2015, including a 21-4 mark against Top 10 opponents.

WORLD NO. 1 IN EVERY WEEK OF A SEASON

Year
Player
2015
2007
2006
Roger Federer
2005
2002
 1997  Pete Sampras
 1994  Pete Sampras
 1987 Ivan Lendl
 1986 Ivan Lendl
 1978 Jimmy Connors
 1976 Jimmy Connors
 1975 Jimmy Connors

Trio Punch Tickets To London
For more than two months, Novak Djokovic stood as the lone player to book his spot at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, but the Serb was soon joined by a trio of his biggest rivals during the North American hard-court swing. Andy Murray secured his place in London for an eighth straight year after reaching the semi-finals at the Rogers Cup in Montreal, while Roger Federer will make his 14th successive voyage to the season finale following his Round of 16 win at the US Open. The 34-year-old Swiss is the most successful player to compete at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, compiling a 48-11 record and claiming a record six titles in 2003-04, 2006-07 and 2010-11. Read: Murray Qualifies

Two days later, at the US Open, Federer’s countryman Stan Wawrinka completed half of the eight-man field. The Swiss reached the semi-finals on his first two appearances at The O2 in 2013 (l. to Djokovic) and 2014 (l. to Federer). The Emirates ATP Race To London is set to heat up in the coming months, with less than 1,000 points separating Tomas Berdych at No. 5 and David Ferrer at No. 8. Kei Nishikori (No. 6) and Rafael Nadal (No. 7) also feature in the Top 8 qualifying positions, with Richard Gasquet, Kevin Anderson and John Isner in hot pursuit. Read: Federer Qualifies | Wawrinka Qualifies

Federer Finds New Gear
At the age of 34, when most players are in the twilight of their careers, how is it possible to re-invent your game and be competing in top form? Only Roger Federer has the answers. A throwback to his early days behind a hyper-aggressive, net-crashing mentality, the Swiss maestro has injected new life into his career. His stunning return tactics, referred to as SABR (Sneak Attack By Roger), are leaving opponents bewildered and dropping fans’ jaws to the floor. Four weeks ago, Federer captured his 87th tour-level title and 24th at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 level, beating Djokovic in straight sets in Cincinnati. It was his seventh crown in the American city, having not conceded a break in 49 service games. The Swiss would deny the Serb the Career Golden Masters with the win. Djokovic got his revenge weeks later in the US Open final, but not before Federer reeled off 28 sets won in a row en route to reaching an unprecedented 27th Grand Slam final. Watch Final Highlights

Murray Masters Montreal
Since 2010, seven players have won titles on hard, grass and clay courts in a single season: Djokovic, Federer, Rafael Nadal, David Ferrer, Grigor Dimitrov, Sam Querrey and now Andy Murray. The Scot, who claimed his first ATP World Tour clay-court crown in Munich, followed by title runs in Madrid and on the lawns of Queen’s Club, captured his 11th Masters 1000 trophy on the hard courts of Montreal in mid-August. In what was one of the matches of the year on the ATP World Tour, Murray turned aside Djokovic in the final, utlising an aggressive gameplan to break down the World No. 1’s defences. The Scot would return to World No. 2 for the first time in two years, albeit for one week, ending the Serb’s 30-match win streak in Masters 1000 events. Watch Final Highlights

Milos’ Milestone Win
World No. 9 Milos Raonic became the first player born in the 1990s to reach the 200 match wins threshold, following his first-round dismissal of Tim Smyczek at the US Open. The Canadian, who would reach the US Open third round for a fourth consecutive year, owns a 201-101 career win-loss record. Raonic owns a sizeable lead over Grigor Dimitrov among players born in the ‘90s, with the Bulgarian in second place with a 163-111 mark. Read More

Thiem's Sublime Summer
A key member of the ATP World Tour’s contingent of young guns, Dominic Thiem won his first title on the clay of Nice in May and the Austrian World No. 20 did not stop there. Before hitting the hard courts of North America, Thiem continued to dominate on clay, winning back-to-back crowns in Umag and Gstaad with wins over Joao Sousa and David Goffin. He became the fourth player born in the 1990s to win three or more ATP World Tour titles, joining Raonic (6), Dimitrov (4) and Bernard Tomic (3). He would reel off 10 consecutive match wins, capped by a semi-final run on home soil in Kitzbuhel, before reaching the third round at the US Open. Watch Gstaad Final Highlights

Comeback Kings
Jeremy Chardy and Fabio Fognini turned in arguably the two greatest comebacks of the year during the Emirates Airline US Open Series. First, Chardy saved seven match points to down John Isner 6-7(9), 7-6(13), 7-6(4) en route to his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 semi-final in Montreal. The Frenchman saved five match points - at 5-6, 6-7, 7-8, 9-10, and 11-12 in the 19-minute second set tie-break, before Isner fought on to earn two more match points on Chardy’s serve at 6-5 in the third. But the Frenchman erased both and closed out the game with an ace to force a deciding tie-break. He converted on his first match point after three hours and 12 minutes. “It was a crazy match,” Chardy exclaimed. Watch Highlights

Then, weeks later, Fognini turned in an inspired performance under the lights on Arthur Ashe Stadium, ousting Rafael Nadal for the third time in 2015. The Italian struck 70 winners in rallying from two sets and a break down to win a pulsating third round encounter 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4, at 1:30am. The win ended Nadal’s streak of 10 straight years with at least one Grand Slam title and handed the Spaniard his first defeat at a major after winning the first two sets (151-1 record). Read Report

First Time Winner
Benoit Paire made history en route to winning his maiden ATP World Tour title at the SkiStar Swedish Open in Bastad. Paire defeated Tommy Robredo in the final, becoming the second player to win titles on the ATP World Tour, ATP Challenger Tour and ITF Futures circuit in the same season, joining Steve Darcis (2006). He is the fifth player to win on both the ATP World Tour and ATP Challenger Tour this year (Ram, Mahut, Vesely, Estrella Burgos), having prevailed at the Challenger stops in Bergamo and Quimper. Moreover, Paire is the sixth first-time champion on the ATP World Tour in 2015, along with Jiri Vesely (Auckland), Victor Estrella Burgos (Quito), Jack Sock (Houston), Dominic Thiem (Nice) and Denis Istomin (Nottingham). Read: First Time Winner Spotlight

Tomic, Isner & Nishikori Also Reach Winners’ Circle
Other ATP World Tour winners in the third quarter of 2015 included Bernard Tomic, who successfully defended his Bogota title, as well as John Isner who achieved a three-peat on the hard courts of Atlanta. He became the eighth different active player to win three straight titles at a tournament. Also hoisting trophies on the hard courts of the United States were Kei Nishikori – champion at the Citi Open in Washington – and Kevin Anderson, who won his first title in four years in Winston-Salem. Philipp Kohlschreiber won the last clay-court title of 2015 in Kitzbuhel, while Rajeev Ram captured his second crown on the grass of Newport (2009). The American saved one match point in upsetting top seed John Isner and two more in denying Adrian Mannarino in the quarter-finals.