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5 most recent players who made their Masters 1000 breakthrough

Bhargav
Stefan Edberg won the first Masters 1000 title at 1990 Indian Wells.
Stefan Edberg won the first Masters 1000 title at 1990 Indian Wells.

The ATP Masters 1000 series consists of nine tournaments in the tennis calendar, each of which awards 1000 points to the winner. Behind the four Grand Slam tournaments and the season-ending ATP Finals, Masters 1000 tournaments are the most important events on the men's tour.

Initially called the 'ATP Championship Series' from 1990 to 1995, the series has been known by various names over the years. It was known as the 'ATP Super 9' from 1996 to 1999, the 'Tennis Masters Series' from 2000 to 2003, the 'ATP Masters Series' from 2004 to 2008, and the 'ATP World Tour Masters 1000' from 2009 to 2018, before being known by its present name, the 'ATP Masters 1000' since the start of the 2019 season.

Since a certain Stefan Edberg beat Andre Agassi in the 1990 Indian Wells final to become the first winner of a Masters 1000 tournament, 68 other players have lifted a Masters title. And except for the years 2004, 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2015, there have been new/first-time Masters 1000 winners in every other year.

That said, this number has been dwindling every decade. In the 90s, there were 32 different players who lifted a Masters 1000 title. The 2000s saw 23 different players make their breakthrough in the tournament category, while only 14 did so in the decade that was 2010-2019.

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Without much ado, let us meet the last five players to win their respective first Masters 1000 titles.

#5 Daniil Medvedev (2019 Cincinnati)

Daniil Medvedev wins his 1st Masters 1000 title at 2019 Cincinnati.
Daniil Medvedev wins his 1st Masters 1000 title at 2019 Cincinnati.

After losing in straight sets to Rafael Nadal in his first Masters 1000 final at the 2019 Coupe Rogers, Daniil Medvedev ended up on the winners' podium the very next week at the Cincinnati Masters.

The ninth seed, playing his third tournament in as many weeks, displayed little signs of exhaustion as he beat Kyle Edmund, Benoit Paire, Jan-Lennard Struff and Roger Federer's conqueror Andrey Rublev to reach the semifinals.

Medvedev seemed to have met his match in the semifinals against defending champion Novak Djokovic. However, he fought back from a set down to book his place in back-to-back Masters 1000 finals, where he beat first-time Masters 1000 finalist David Goffin to become the 69th different player to lift a Masters 1000 title.

#4 Fabio Fognini (2019 Monte Carlo)

Fabio Fognini was the last man standing at the 2019 Monte Carlo Masters.
Fabio Fognini was the last man standing at the 2019 Monte Carlo Masters.

Making his 81st Masters 1000 appearance at the 2019 Monte Carlo Masters, there was little inkling of what was to transpire for Fabio Fognini later in the week.

Fognini needed to recover from a set deficit to get past Andrey Rublev in the first round. Following a 'walkover' win in the second round against French veteran Gilles Simon, Fognini downed young gun Alexander Zverev to reach his second quarterfinal at the tournament.

For a place in his first Monte Carlo semifinal, the Italian had to dig deep for the second time in the week, fighting back from a set down to beat Borna Coric to earn the right to lock horns with 11-time champion Rafael Nadal.

Playing one of his best matches on clay, Fognini surged to a 6-4 5-0 40-0 lead against the off-colour 19-time Grand Slam champion. Though Nadal managed to avoid his first bagel set on clay in 12 years (2007 Hamburg final against Roger Federer), it was too little too late as Fognini moved into his first Masters 1000 final.

Against another first-time Masters 1000 finalist Dusan Lajovic, Fognini won in straight sets to become the first Italian player to win a title in the tournament category.

#3 Dominic Thiem (2019 Indian Wells)

Dominic Thiem lifts his first Masters 1000 title at 2019 Indian Wells.
Dominic Thiem lifts his first Masters 1000 title at 2019 Indian Wells.

Long regarded as a claycourt specialist for his prowess on the surface, Dominic Thiem took a big step towards establishing himself as an all-court player when he lifted his first Masters 1000 title on the hardcourts of Indian Wells in 2019.

Successive straight-set wins over Jordan Thompson, Gilles Simon and Ivo Karlovic followed by a 'walkover' against Gael Monfils in the quarterfinals landed Thiem in his first Indian Wells semifinal. There, he wore down Milos Raonic in three sets to reach his third Masters 1000 title match.

Up against five-time champion Roger Federer, Thiem made a slow start to fall a set behind after 36 minutes. But to his credit, as Federer's level faded, Thiem's began to improve; the Austrian brought himself into contention by taking the second to restore parity.

In a competitive third set, Thiem stood two points from defeat at 4-5 30-30 on serve. But he played fearless tennis to hold serve, break Federer in the next game, and promptly serve out the win for his first Masters 1000 win.

The triumph made Thiem the only Austrian after Thomas Muster (1990 Rome) to lift a title in the tournament category.

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#2 Karen Khachanov (2018 Paris-Bercy)

Karen Khachanov lifts his first Masters 1000 title at 2019 Paris-Bercy.
Karen Khachanov lifts his first Masters 1000 title at 2019 Paris-Bercy.

It was a week to remember for Karen Khachanov at the 2018 Paris-Bercy Masters.

An epic third-set tiebreak win over John Isner in the third round announced Khachanov's title credentials. The big-hitting Russian then saw off Alexander Zverev and Dominic Thiem for the loss of just eight cumulative games to book a final meeting with four-time champion Novak Djokovic.

The going got tough against the 32-time Masters 1000 titlist, who burst off the blocks to take a 3-1 lead. But the response from Khachanov was swift and impressive.

Powerful groundstrokes, especially off the forehand wing, pinned Djokovic on the baseline and punctured massive holes in the Serbian's usually reliable defence as Khachanov won 10 consecutive points.

The Russian was all over Djokovic in the 11th game, turning defence into offence to grab the decisive break before he promptly served out the opener to take a one-set advantage.

The 22-year-old struck first in the second set, breaking Djokovic for 2-1. The lone break sufficed as Khachanov closed out a 7-5, 6-4 win to become the newest Masters 1000 winner.

#1 John Isner (2018 Miami)

John Isner makes his Masters 1000 breakthrough at 2018 Miami.
John Isner makes his Masters 1000 breakthrough at 2018 Miami.

Making his 72nd Masters 1000 appearance at 2018 Miami, John Isner capitalised on the absence of top 3 opposition in the latter half of the tournament to grab the biggest win of his professional career.

After needing three sets to see off Czech Jiri Vesely in the first round, Isner took down Mikhail Youzhny, Marin Cilic, Hyeon Chung and Juan Martin del Potro in straight sets to move into his first Miami final.

In his fourth Masters 1000 final, Isner fell a set behind when Alexander Zverev won the opener on a tiebreak. But thereafter it was the Isner show as the 31-year-old reeled off successive 6-4 sets to become the oldest as well as tallest player to lift a Masters 1000 title.

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Edited by Musab Abid
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