Seven at the Championships, like Arthur Gore and Pete Sampras. Thirty in the Slams, only one length behind Roger Federer. If needed, Novak Djokovic is still the best among the best. Without shining, the number one of the big group trivially wins the vast majority of the important points.
Needless to say, he recovers a 3-5 disadvantage during the first fraction, avoids the jeu decisif in the second and cancels a total of ten of the eleven break points he makes available. The 7-6 (3) 7-5 7-5 that matures on the threshold of two and a half hours of play is practically a logical consequence.
It goes without saying that in the final there will be Matteo Berrettini, recently beaten in the quarter-finals on the red carpet of Bois de Boulogne and fresh from the victory-of-life against Hubert Hurkacz. If tennis were a very simple matter of talent, Shapovalov would usually hang out in the top four in the majors with some consistency.
Unfortunately, or fortunately, something else is needed. The Canadian - who manages to make his head and arm work at the same time during the opening fraction - does not manage to defend the break ahead of 5-4. Nor to hold on to the tie break after an initial 1-0.
Djokovic, who accepts the circumstances with some humility, takes advantage of the first useful opportunity to put his head forward. And obviously also to take control of the matter. 'Shapo' tends to play the right game.
He serves well, responds well, but above all he does not lose centimeters in the course of prolonged exchanges. Needless to say, he faces 0-40 in the fourth game and 15-40 in the sixth. The number one of the big group, despite the difficulties, manages to get out of trouble and above all to land the decisive shoulder on 5-5.
Also thanks to a rather trivial mistake by Shapovalov at 30-30 in the setting phase and above all a very bloody double foul. Djokovic cancels three break points at the start and doesn't use three in the next game. Although in the set, in reality, it is the very Serbian champion who has the vast majority of chances in response.
Shapovalov - a fan of the double foul at 30-30 - manages to save himself on the first chance at 5-5. The second chance to put his head forward proves to be sufficient for Djokovic: the final serving time turns out to be a pure formality according to the logic of things.
Djokovic beat Denis Shapovalov in straight sets
Speaking to the media after the match, Novak Djokovic acknowledged that Shapovalov played some fantastic tennis in the first two sets. "Three very tight sets, he was the better player in the first two sets, but couldn’t close it out," Novak Djokovic said.
"I probably held my nerves better in key moments, made him commit some unforced errors." Djokovic also commended Shapovalov's ability to control his instincts and not go for broke all the time. "He has always been a very aggressive player, but I feel he understands better now how to construct points, he is more patient," Djokovic said.
"It was in straight sets, but it was not a straightforward match. It would mean everything (to win). I imagined myself to be fighting for the trophy," the 34-year-old said. "I hope that I will have the stadium on my side.
Every player hopes for that, it's a big difference having the crowd behind you or against you. Hopefully, people can recognize the importance of this match for me," he added. "But I am prepared for anything, I’ll focus on myself."