Novak Djokovic Beats Denis Shapovalov to Win 5th Paris Masters Title

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistNovember 3, 2019

Winner Serbia's Novak Djokovic (R) is congratulated by Canada's Denis Shapovalov after their men's singles final tennis match at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Rolex Paris Masters - indoor tennis tournament at The AccorHotels Arena in Paris on November 3, 2019. (Photo by CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT / AFP) (Photo by CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT/AFP via Getty Images)
CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT/Getty Images

Novak Djokovic beat Denis Shapovalov 6-3, 6-4 in the 2019 Paris Masters final on Sunday to become a five-time winner in this competition. 

Djokovic, 32, gained redemption in this fixture after he lost to Karen Khachanov in the 2018 final, winning six matches in a row at the AccorHotels Arena in Paris, France, without dropping a single set.

An abdominal injury saw Rafael Nadal pull out prior to the semi-finals, per BBC Sport, while Roger Federer withdrew with one eye on the ATP Finals, which begin in London on November 10.

Djokovic won his first Paris Masters in 2009 and later won three titles in succession between 2013 and 2015.

The Serb looked slick during the early exchanges in Sunday's final, breaking Shapovalov at the first time of asking to quickly build a three-game lead:

Nerves at times looked to be getting the better of Shapovalov, who missed two routine forehands and a woeful volley attempt in the opening game of the match.

The first set always looked out of reach for the Canadian after such a slow start, but a change of ends at least gave Shapovalov the break he needed to get off the mark.

But Djokovic was imperious from the baseline—he won 85 percent of points on his first serve, per FlashScore.com—and served to love to win the first set 6-3, via the Tennis Channel (U.S. viewers only):

Tennis writer Chris Goldsmith posted a breakdown of the first set statistics:

Shapovalov served to begin the first set and took full advantage of a rare chance to lead, bagging four aces in his first two service games—he managed only three throughout the entire opening set.

Two of those aces came under intense pressure in the opening game and saw the 20-year-old narrowly avoid another disappointing break, turning around an almost nightmarish start to the second set. 

Shapovalov was enjoying luck when he closed the net, though Djokovic was in position to punish the approach at times:

The youngster began to grow in confidence and really started to enforce his serve as the set wore on, though the conundrum of stopping Djokovic on his serve remained as the scores were level at 3-3.

In fact, Djokovic appeared to be growing stronger on his serve as the set progressed, tying level at three games apiece with his third victory to love of the match.

The crucial crack appeared seven games in, when Shapovalov faulted a first serve not long before he hit into the net to trail for the first time in the second set (4-3), per Live Tennis:

Djokovic appeared to do his utmost to allow Shapovalov back in on his next serve, committing a handful of unforced errors that one wouldn't expect to see from him in one match, never mind the same game. Shapovalov forced deuce for the first time on Djokovic's serve but hit a backhand wide left to give up what seemed to be his last lifeline to victory.

An eighth ace of the match saw Shapovalov win the ninth game and cut the deficit back to 5-4, but it was delaying the inevitable as Nole capped off the 65th and final event of the 2019 season in cool fashion.

It was again Shapovalov's errors that helped the favourite move clear of his foe, with Djokovic looking every bit the more experienced star as he sealed yet another straight-sets win (U.S. only):

Djokovic will lose his world No. 1 status to Nadal despite winning a fifth Paris Masters, but the victory nonetheless puts him in great stead ahead of the ATP Finals this month.

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