Contesting his 50th ATP Masters 1000 final on Sunday, Novak Djokovic tasted victory for the 34th time after dismissing Denis Shapovalov, 6-3, 6-4, in the Rolex Paris Masters final. The 32-year-old improved to 5-1 in championship clashes at the event and dispatched Shapovalov for the fourth time in 2019.
"It was a great tournament for me. I played really well, especially in the last three matches," Djokovic said afterwards.
"Obviously Denis playing for the first time in a Masters 1000 final is a completely new experience for him. We both served really well today, maybe because there was so many people in the stands and it was full. It was probably a bit warmer so it's easier to serve and it's quicker. There [were] not too many rallies in the match."
Though he will drop to No. 2 behind Rafael Nadal in Monday’s rankings, Djokovic closed the gap in the battle for year-end No. 1, moving to within 640 points of the Spaniard heading into the Nitto ATP Finals. Nadal’s London participation remains in question after he withdrew from his Paris semifinal with Shapovalov due to an abdominal injury.
Djokovic broke Shapovalov in his opening service game, as the 20-year-old showed signs of nerves in his Masters 1000 final debut. He settled in for the remainder of the match, but opportunities were few and far between to make an impact on the Serbian’s serve.
After breaking for a 4-3 lead in the second set, Djokovic saved the lone break point he faced to close the door on any possible opportunity for his opponent to get back in the encounter. The top seed served out the victory at love after 66 minutes to collect his fifth title of the year, tying Dominic Thiem for the ATP tour lead. Djokovic won 14 of his 17 second serve return points to move within one title of equaling Nadal’s record of 35 crowns at the Masters 1000-level.
Shapovalov hit 11 aces in defeat and is expected to make his Top 15 debut next week, an achievement that will see him finish as the No. 1-ranked Canadian for the first time.