Djokovic Beats Shapo, Inches Closer To Year-End No. 1 Finish

Serbian looking to finish year-end No. 1 for the sixth time

Novak Djokovic will head to the Nitto ATP Finals in striking distance in the battle for year-end No. 1. The Serbian won his 34th ATP Masters 1000 title on Sunday, beating #NextGenATP Canadian Denis Shapovalov 6-3, 6-4 at the Rolex Paris Masters.

Djokovic was untouchable on serve and took advantage of a nervy start from Shapovalov, who was broken twice in his first Masters 1000 final, to claim a record-extending fifth Paris Masters 1000 title and remain unbeaten against the 20-year-old in their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry (4-0).

I think I had the best serving match of the tournament, and that's why the match was pretty short,” Djokovic said. “I put him under pressure [on] the second serve, and from the back of the court, I was solid and not giving him too many opportunities.

[It was] just one of the best matches I have played, definitely, this week. And I feel like the second part of the week was terrific. It was improving day-by-day for me in terms of level of tennis.”

Djokovic added 1,000 ATP Race To London points to his tally and, with 8,945 points, is only 640 points away from Spain's Rafael Nadal (9,585), who will become No. 1 on Monday for the first time in a year. Nadal withdrew from his semi-final against Shapovalov (abdominal) but said he plans to do everything to be ready to compete at the Nitto ATP Finals, to be held 10-17 November at The O2 in London.

ATP Masters 1000 Career Title Leaders

Player

Titles

Rafael Nadal

35

Novak Djokovic

34

Roger Federer

28

Andre Agassi

17

Andy Murray

14

I'm sad to see that he's injured because that's not what you want to see, not for Rafa, not for any other athlete,” Djokovic said. “In terms of points, that puts me in a better position after this week. But, again, I have to keep on winning. There's always a chance that I win all my matches in London, that I play well. I have done it in the past, and I like playing there. But it's [an] extremely difficult task, considering who my opponents are going to be.”

Djokovic climbed to within one of Nadal's all-time Masters 1000 titles lead and also tied John McEnroe on the all-time titles list with his 77th tour-level crown.

Shapovalov, with new coach Mikhail Youzhny, has been in the form of his life of late, winning his first ATP Tour title at the Intrum Stockholm Open last month and making his first Masters 1000 final in Paris. But the left-hander couldn't hold off Djokovic, who was in control throughout the final. Shapovalov lifted a forehand long during his first service game to hand the Serbian the early break.

All-Time Leading ATP Title Winners

Player  Titles
Jimmy Connors  109
Roger Federer 103
Ivan Lendl  94
Rafael Nadal  84
John McEnroe 77

Djokovic was hitting his spots on his serve and was never so much as even pushed to Deuce in the opening set. Shapovalov recomposed himself in the second, but another forehand error gave Djokovic the break in the seventh game and a clear path to his fifth title of the season, which ties him with Dominic Thiem for the Tour lead. Djokovic, who will receive €995,720 in prize money, is now 11-1 at the Paris Masters 1000 after reaching the semi-finals.

It was tough for me to find a groove just because he was really, really picking his spots on the serve,” Shapovalov said. “Big credit to him. He played an amazing match and had a great week. I wish him the best of luck for London.”

Shapovalov will receive 600 ATP Rankings points and €503,730 in prize money and is projected to climb to a career-high No. 15 in the ATP Rankings.

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