Novak Djokovic made history at the Rolex Paris Masters as he defeated Grigor Dimitrov 6-4 6-3 to lift the trophy. The world No 1 broke his own records by winning his seventh title in Bercy and 40th overall Masters crown. For the third time this week, Djokovic was booed by the Bercy crowd as he put his finger to his ear and laughed after taking the opening set.
Djokovic and Dimitrov were contesting their first final in their 13th meeting. Aged 36 and 32 respectively, it marked the oldest final on the ATP Tour this year and the oldest in tournament history. There were some tentative games early on with the Bulgarian being dragged to deuce before taking some 15-30 and 0-30 leads on Djokovic’s serve.
But it was the top seed who got the first break point of the match with Dimitrov serving at 3-3. He only needed the one as the world No 17 dumped the ball into the net to hand Djokovic an advantage. Dimitrov was in more trouble while serving to stay in it at 3-5 as he was taken to deuce again but he kept himself in it, forcing Djokovic to close out the set himself.
The pair left the Accor Arena crowd in awe during a 33-shot rally with neither man refusing to miss. But it was the top seed who came out on the losing end of it as his ball hit the net tape and dribbled into his side of the court. Djokovic needed two set points but he served out the opener 6-4 in 52 minutes and put his finger to his ear, encouraging the spectators to rile him up.
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As some responded with boos – the third time this week that Djokovic has been jeered by the Bercy crowd – the world No 1 laughed and encouraged them. It was the Serb who pounced first once again in the second set, maintaining a 100 per cent success rate on his break points during the final as he put himself three games from the trophy.
Dimitrov was finally able to save a break point while 2-4 down but he was never able to create any of his own chances on the Djokovic’s serve to get back in the match. The top seed had another chance to pounce with the 32-year-old serving to stay in the match at 3-5 as a return winner gave Djokovic a match point.
The world No 1 raised his arms in the air as Dimitrov sent the ball flying outside the tram lines, handing Djokovic his seventh title at the Paris Masters. After becoming the tournament’s oldest champion two years ago at the age of 34, he broke his own record by capturing the crown as a 36-year-old.
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It means that Dimitrov is still yet to beat Djokovic for a second time, with his lone win coming over a decade ago at the 2013 Madrid Masters. Djokovic’s victory is especially impressive given the multiple physical issues he faced during the week.
After being dragged to three sets while facing Tallon Griekspoor on Thursday, the 36-year-old revealed that he had been dealing with a stomach bug and “spent more time on the toilet seat than on the court the last three days”.
He then required a medical time-out for treatment on his back during Saturday’s semi-final against Andrey Rublev. After the match, he admitted: “I had a similar feeling yesterday and before yesterday to be honest I wasn’t feeling very good physically on the court.”
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