As wild as it may sound, Sunday’s Rolex Masters final was the last Masters 1000 finals of the decade. Novak Djokovic played some of the best tennis you’ll ever see the last three days in Paris. He defeated Grigor Dimintrov, Stefanos Tsitsipas (7), & Denis Shapovalov, respectively, to win his fifth title of the year. Djokovic looked like his old self, regaining form from the baseline and using his world class movement and flexibility. He picked opponents apart with precision on his serve and was able to generate plenty of short balls. Djokovic was also locked in on returns and applied a ton of pressure on servers. He was aggressive with returns on second serves and had some incredible redirection returns off firsts as well. His offense came easy off the ground and he was able to measure shots near the baseline consistently.
While it looked like an intriguing matchup on paper, Djokovic dismantled Tsitsipas in the quarterfinals. He took time away from the 20-year-old and kept him on the defensive for the 58 minute ordeal.
In the semifinals, he faced Grigor Dimitrov who had a great run in Paris and was playing at a very high level. Dimitrov had a couple of huge, straight set wins over David Goffin (12) and Dominic Thiem (5), and then gave Djokovic his toughest match of the tournament.
The finals saw much of the same from Djokovic. He came out focused, serving well, and let Shapovalov make the errors. He also did not give Shapovalov many opportunities in his service games, allowing only one break-point chance. Conversely, Djokovic won 14/17 (82%) second serve return points against the southpaw.
Novak now finds himself sandwiched between the Big 3 heading into the ATP Finals (Nov. 9). Healthy and playing incredible tennis, his goal is clearly to win all his matches in London to end the year as the World No. 1. He trails Nadal by just 640 points after claiming the title in Paris. “It puts me in a better position after this week. But again, I have to keep on winning. There’s a chance that I win all my matches in London, that I play well. I have done it my past,” Djokovic told ATP.com.
Crazy Stat: the Big 3 will start the 2020 season inside the Top 3 just like they ended the 2010 season
(*Nadal was forced to pull out of Paris with an injury and there’s some doubt whether or he’ll be healthy for the ATP Finals.*)