Djokovic exits Cincy final with sore shoulder

MASON, Ohio — Novak Djokovic's remarkable winning streak ended with a grimace, one that puts a new spin on the U.S. Open.

The world's top-ranked player was forced to retire in the second set Sunday because of a sore right shoulder, giving Andy Murray the championship at the Western & Southern Open.

It was the Serb's first bad moment in his 57-2 season. Djokovic had won 16 consecutive matches since his only previous loss of the season in the semifinals against Roger Federer on June 3 at Roland Garros. The winning streak has taken a toll.

Djokovic talked about feeling exhausted in Cincinnati, coming off his record fifth Masters series title in Montreal last week. He said his serving shoulder had bothered him for about the last 10 days, but he'd been able to manage the soreness and keep winning.

On Sunday, he couldn't go on.

"There is no good loss, that's for sure," Djokovic. "The good thing is there's a week, eight days to the start of the Open.

"I'm confident I can recover and be ready for the U.S. Open."

He was completely off his game against the fourth-seeded Murray, won the first set 6-4 and was ahead 3-0 in the second when Djokovic decided just before the rain came that he couldn't continue. Djokovic got his shoulder treated after he lost the first set, grimacing at one point.

With his serve registering only in double-digits and his forehand limited by the pain, Djokovic realized he couldn't compete. He said he would have retired even if the rain had temporarily stopped the match.

"I could have maybe played another couple of games, but what for?" he said. "I cannot beat a player like Murray today with one stroke."

It was Murray's second title this season. The 24-year-old Scotsman also won at the Queen's Club. He lost his other final match to Djokovic at the Australian Open.


At Cincinnati, Maria Sharapova overcame a first-set letdown on Sunday, rallying to beat Jelena Jankovic 4-6, 7-6 (3), 6-3 in the finals of the Western & Southern Open.

The fourth-seeded Russian survived a match full of service breaks — 16 in all, seven in the final set alone — for her second title of the season. Sharapova won the last five games of the second-set tiebreaker to keep it going. The match lasted 2 hours, 49 minutes and had a pair of brief rain delays.

The 14th-ranked Jankovic extended her streak of 17 months without a singles title. She won in Cincinnati in 2009, but hasn't gotten a championship since Indian Wells on March 21 last year.

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