ATP Paris: Novak Djokovic tames Denis Shapovalov to keep pressure on Nadal

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ATP Paris: Novak Djokovic tames Denis Shapovalov to keep pressure on Nadal

World no. 1 Novak Djokovic has won the fifth title in Paris and the 34th Masters 1000 crown overall, defeating Denis Shapovalov 6-3, 6-4 in an hour and five minutes. After a poor start of the week due to illness, Djokovic managed to find his 'A game' and grab the fifth ATP title of the season, matching John McEnroe on 77 ATP crowns overall and looking good to pass the American in London in two weeks.

Also, Novak has reduced the deficit to Rafael Nadal in the ATP Race to just over 600 points, ready to challenge the Spaniard at the ATP Finals and finish another season as the year-end no. 1 player. Competing in his first Masters 1000 final, Denis was unable to follow Novak's pace, winning three out of 17 points on the second serve and suffering one break in each set to propel the Serb over the finish line.

On the other hand, Djokovic landed 71% of the first serve in, dropping ten points in ten service games to sail through his service games, repelling the only break point he faced and standing strong from start to finish to lift the trophy.

Taming his shots nicely, Novak had ten winners and seven unforced errors, leaving Shapovalov to dictate the pace, make more winners but also more errors (a 24-22 ratio) and converting those two break chances to cross the finish line in just over an hour.

Novak had the advantage in the shortest rallies up to four strokes after hitting staggering 56% of service winners, delivering one easy point on serve after another and having the upper hand in the more extended exchanges as well to earn the triumph fair and square.

As was expected, Shapovalov made a slow start in the most important match of his career so far, spraying a forehand error in game two to find himself 2-0 down and with a work to be done in the rest of the set if he wanted to get back on the scoreboard.

Novak had some other plans, though, serving well throughout the set and clinching the set with four winners in the ninth game for a 6-3 after 28 minutes. The Canadian repelled a break point at the beginning of the second set, settling into an excellent rhythm in his games before the seventh game when Novak broke him at 15 after a forehand error from the youngster that sealed his fate in the first Masters 1000 final.

There was a little drama on Djokovic's serve in the eighth game, though, with the Serb saving a break opportunity with a service winner and bringing the game home following a backhand error from Denis to remain in front.

Serving for the title at 5-4, Novak held at love with a forehand winner to seal the deal and earn a notable title that keeps him in contention for the year-end no. 1 spot.