By Erik Gudris / November 3, 2013
Novak Djokovic came back from behind against David Ferrer to secure his 17th straight match win and 40th ATP Tour title at the BNP Paribas Masters.
Photo Credit: AP
Both Novak Djokvoic and David Ferrer might have been feeling a case of Parisian déjà vu during Sunday's BNP Paribas Masters finals. For Djokovic, it meant a continuation of his recent winning streak. Yet for Ferrer, the Spaniard will ponder missing two opportunities to serve out a set in his bid to defend his title.
After Ferrer's surprise semifinal win over Rafael Nadal on Saturday, many wondered what Ferrer would have in store against Djokovic, whom he had beaten in their last two meetings indoors. A stirring 27-shot rally to start the match, won by Djokovic with a down-the-line forehand winner, proved both men would have to work hard for the final ATP 1000 title of the season.
Ferrer resumed his aggressive game plan from Saturday that worked so well against Nadal. Attacking early, Ferrer secured the first break of the set by winning an all-court rally with a dead perfect drop shot struck from well beyond the baseline. With Djokovic at times looking weary and gulping for air, Ferrer looked poised to close out the set when he served for it at 5-4.
But it was Djokovic who reignited his game at the right moment. With a barrage of well-executed forehands, one angled crosscourt to set up break point then followed by a down the line winner, Djokovic broke back for 5-all. With a new spring in his step, Djokovic raced away with 16 of the last 18 points. Breaking Ferrer again, Djokovic claimed the set 7-5.
The Serbian erupted with a hearty roar to let the packed Palais Omnisports arena know he was back in business.
But Ferrer didn't wilt. He broke Djokovic right away to open the second set and, after holding serve for 2-0, once again held break points versus Djokovic. But Djokovic saved both get on the board for 2-1.
Djokovic requested an ice towel on the changeover, an odd request perhaps given the indoor setting. But it was likely due to the heavy-duty workout Ferrer continued putting Djokovic through in the multiple extended rallies they shared. After losing another exchange with Ferrer, Djokovic smacked his racquet onto the court in frustration. That earned a chorus of boos from the often fickle Paris crowd.
Ferrer navigated his way to yet another 5-4 lead and again served for the set. But, in a case of déjà vu like in the first set at the same juncture, Djokovic responded. Perhaps feeling the moment, Ferrer sent a backhand into the net at 30-all. Now with his chance, Djokovic pounced. With cunning defense, Djokovic forced Ferrer to send a forehand just wide.
Back level at 5-all, Djokovic once again took flight. Easily holding his own serve, Djokovic forced Ferrer to respond. But, as in the first set, Ferrer blinked. Ferrer soon found himself down 15-40 and two match points. Ferrer saved one, but he couldn't the next as the Spaniard netted his final shot.
With that, Djokovic claimed his second title in Bercy 7-5, 7-5, ending Ferrer's hopes of becoming the first defending champion in the event's history to repeat as the winner.
Djokovic struck 34 winners to just 15 from Ferrer. The Serbian also was an impressive 15 of 18 when up at net.
The victory is significant for Djokovic in several ways. It marks his 40th career title and extends his recent winning streak post-US Open to 17. Djokovic also keeps alive his bid to finish the year ranked No. 1 as he enters next week's ATP World Tour Finals.
"Since three weeks I play my best tennis this year. Better than in January or at the Australian Open or Dubai," Djokovic said referring to his major title earlier in the season. "It's a good feeling."
In the doubles finals, Bob and Mike Bryan won their 11th ATP title this season. They defeated Alexander Peya and Bruno Soares 6-3, 6-3.