Facebook Social Button Twitter Social Button Follow Us on InstagramYouTube Social Button
NewsScoresRankingsLucky Letcord PodcastShopPro GearPickleballGear Sale

By Richard Pagliaro | Sunday, November 5, 2023


Novak Djokovic defeated Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 6-3 for his 18th straight win and record-extending seventh Paris title and 40th Masters 1000 crown.

Photo credit: Rolex Paris Masters Facebook

Calculation wasn't part of the curriculum for Novak Djokovic during today’s Paris final.

A dominant Djokovic played major number cruncher anyway.

Report: Saudis Negotiating with IMG for Miami, Madrid

In a powerful Paris performance, world No. 1 Djokovic deconstructed Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 6-3, to sweep his seventh Rolex Paris Masters crown and continue his flawless post-Wimbledon winning streak.

Reigning Roland Garros champion Djokovic made his mark as the first man to complete the Roland Garros-Paris-Bercy title sweep in the same season twice.

A red-hot Djokovic continues racking up records registering his 18th straight win capturing a record-extending 40th Masters 1000 championship.

It is Djokovic’s record seventh Rolex Paris Masters crown in nine finals and his 97th career championship—and he did it all while battling a stomach virus and a sometime adversarial Parisian crowd.

"I'm very of course proud of the achievement but I'm already turning the next page," Djokovic told the media in Paris. "This is, fortunately or unfortunately, the way it works for me, and the way I think is the correct, so to say, mentality moving forward. Because while I'm still active, I still want to win more and I still want to play at the highest level. Obviously Grand Slams and Masters events are the most valuable tournaments in our sport.

"So considering, as I said, the circumstances I had in the last seven days, you know, this win has more weight and more value and it's extra sweeter, so to say, particularly at these stage of my career. I don't even know in which stages of my career I am anymore, but I think that every win on a big tournament maybe the value is double nowadays."

This Paris performance has profound Turin repercussions: Djokovic now has 9,945 ranking points in the Race to Turin—a full 1,500-point lead over No. 2 Carlos Alcaraz, which means barring complete collapse or injury at this month's ATP Finals, the Serbian should cruise to his record-extending eighth year-end No. 1 finish.

"I'm very close. I think I need one win to clinch the year No. 1, so that was the biggest goal other than, you know, Davis Cup for the end of the year," Djokovic said. "I'm going [to Turin] with good feelings, with a lot of confidence. You know, I haven't lost a match since Wimbledon final, so I'm really excited to hopefully finish off the season on a high.

"But yeah, clinching the year No. 1 and Davis Cup are the two biggest goals."

A champion for the ages, Djokovic isn’t just getting older—he’s getting better. Since bowing to Carlos Alcaraz in a pulsating Wimbledon final last July, Djokovic has not lost a match posting an impeccable 33-1 hard-court record in 2023.

In a classy coda to this title run, Djokovic urged his friend to keep on fighting.

“I want to encourage you to stay tough and keep going. You played some of the greatest tennis I’ve seen you play this week and the last few months so keep going,” Djokovic told buddy Dimitrov during the trophy presentation. “Congrats to your team, to your family.

“It’s always a pleasure to share the court with you. We go back a long time. We are kind of veterans of the tour….30-plus Gen.”

This Paris final between the 36-year-old Serbian and 32-year-old Bulgarian was one for the older set—the oldest title match in tournament history and oldest ATP final this season—and though both men were revitalized at the Accor Arena this week, Djokovic looked fitter, fresher and more formidable.

Still, Dimitrov, who dropped to 1-12 lifetime vs. Djokovic, can look back on a riveting run to his first Masters 1000 final since he won the 2017 Cincinnati and was appreciative for the massive crowd support he earned from Paris fans.

"Getting to the final of this tournament means so much more than you guys can imagine, but also it could not have been possible without you and the week of support," Dimitrov said. "Honestly, I’m so grateful. Novak congrats to another amazing week for your team."

From 15-30 down, Dimitrov leaned on his forehand variety spinning winners in opposite corners as he held for 2-1 after 15 minutes of play.

The top seed locked in on the baseline and struck with depth giving Dimitrov little to work with midway through the set. A half-hour into the final, Dimitrov ballooned a pair of forehands while trying to change direction down the line to face the first break point.

Quick off the mark, Djokovic flicked back a full-stretch return. Dimitrov was up to the short ball but jammed a backhand off the top of the tape that fluttered wide as Djokovic gained the break for 4-3.

A precise Djokovic wrapped a pair of love holds around the break surging through 12 of 14 points stretching his lead to 5-3.

The challenge for Dimitrov was attacking without donating errors. Though his forehand wasn’t quite as sharp as it had been earlier in the week, Dimitrov hit a flashy drive forehand volley to navigate a deuce hold for 4-5.

Dabbing off-pace slices to set up forcing forehands, Dimitrov won a draining 33-shot rally to level at 30-all. That adventurous point prompted Paris fans to chant “Dimitrov! Dimitrov!”

Djokovic muted the uprising breaking down the Bulgarian’s backhand, converting his second set point to take the 51-minute opener. The reigning Roland Garros champion raised a clenched fist to the crowd then cupped his finger behind his ears in a gesture of “What say you now?” while reminding fans of his supremacy in Bercy.

The world No. 1 was first-rate on first serve. Djokovic won 15 of 17 first-serve points and did not face a single break point building the one-set lead.

Gaining ground on Djokovic in a Masters 1000 final is like landing a spot in the Louvre with your first artwork. Djokovic was 30-1 when winning the first set in Masters 1000 final with his lone loss coming to Holger Rune in the 2022 final.

Credit Dimitrov for hanging tough at the start of the second set. Playing with taping around his left thigh, Dimitrov wasn’t quite as quick to the ball as he’d shown in tournament wins over No. 3 Daniil Medvedev, Antwerp champion Alexander Bublik, Shanghai champion Hubert Hurkacz and Australian Open finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas in reaching his first Masters 1000 final since 2017.

That fatigue—combined with Djokovic’s consistent depth that pinned the Bulgarian behind the baseline—was apparent in some lunging misses and Dimitrov’s inability to get to net with frequency.

When Dimitrov scattered a backhand, Djokovic snatched the break in the fifth game.

A confident Djokovic cracked an ace down the T completing his third love hold of the final consolidating for 4-2.

Stepping into the court to take a serve on the rise, Djokovic banged a diagonal backhand return winner for championship point.

On the ninth shot of the ensuing rally, Dimitrov jerked one final backhand wide as Djokovic closed a strong 98-minute conquest with a shout.


Latest News