Novak Djokovic got his Paris campaign off to a respectable start with a 7-5, 6-1 win over Portugal's Joao Sousa. He's extended his match win streak to 19, which he'll risk when he takes on Damir Dzumhur next.
Djokovic entered the match on Tuesday with a flawless 5-0 record against Sousa, having never lost a set to the world No. 48. He swiftly went up a break for 4-1, but lost his first service game since the US Open to let Sousa back in the match. Things got dicey at 5-5 when he needed to save a critical break point. Sousa blew his chance, and Djokovic soared from there, winning the next seven games.
The most dramatic thing to happen in the second set was a spectator needing medical attention when Djokovic was up 5-1. The 31-year-old offered the gentleman a towel, and waited for help to arrive. The commotion led to Sousa having three break chances in that game, before Djokovic shut the door.
Djokovic is the No. 2 seed at the final ATP Masters 1000 of the year, but he's the obvious favorite. He hasn't lost a match since Aug. 9, when he fell to Stefanos Tsitsipas in Toronto. Since then, his win streak has included titles in Cincinnati, the US Open and Shanghai.
WATCH—Novak Djokovic speaks to the press in Paris:
"When I reunited with my fitness coach and tennis coach again [in April], we set up a plan. The peak was supposed to arrive around US Open time and it arrived before," Djokovic said in pre-tournament press. "We are very pleased with what was achieved in the last four, five months. With [Rafael Nadal's] injury and him not playing in China, it put me in a position to be very close to him in the rankings and fight for year-end No. 1.
"Of course right now I’m aware of it and I’m going to give my very best to try to achieve it."
All of his winning has put Djokovic just 215 points behind world No. 1 Nadal, a spot Djokovic isn't shy to admit he wants to return to. There stands a very good chance that Djokovic surpasses Nadal this week, given that he has nothing to defend, while the Spaniard reached the quarterfinals last year.
"I do think I'm playing at my best at the moment," Djokovic added. "I always feel like I can improve but I feel like this is a high level."
This Week on Tennis Channel PLUS:
ATP Paris (Mon - Sun 10.29 - 11.4)
- Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic headline the ATP Rolex Paris Masters. Watch live coverage from three courts on Tennis Channel PLUS beginning Monday 10/29 at 6:00 AM EST.
WTA Zhuhai (Mon - Sun 10.29 - 11.4)
- Tennis Channel PLUS has live action of Zhuhai starting Tuesday 10/30 at 12:30 AM EST
USTA Tyler (Tue - Sun 10.30 - 11.4)
-Tennis Channel PLUS features live competition and on-demand coverage of every WTA match from USTA Tyler beginning Tuesday 10/30 11:00 AM EST