World number one Novak Djokovic secured his seventh Paris Masters title and became the first player to win 40 Masters ATP 1000 titles when the top seed Serbia defeated Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov 6-4 6-3 in the final on Sunday defeated.
Djokovic’s sixth trophy of the season helped him extend his lead over second-seeded Carlos Alcaraz in the race for the year-end top spot, and the 24-time Grand Slam champion will head to the ATP Finals to seal the deal.
“It’s incredible to be able to win this week after what were quite challenging circumstances for me,” Djokovic said. “On Thursday, Friday and Saturday I was close to losing three games in a row.
“I was on the verge of losing those games and somehow managed to find some extra equipment when I needed it. Today we were both pretty tight at the start and I could see he was running a little low on gas.
“Me too, but I managed to get an extra shot over the net. The game was closer than the result suggests, but it was another great win for me. I’m very proud of that.”
In a clash between the two oldest players in the world’s top 20, the 36-year-old Djokovic took first place by defeating 17th-ranked Dimitrov to take a 4-3 lead in the first set and he finished the match confidently in the 51st sentence of the minutes.
The unseeded Dimitrov’s only win over Djokovic in 12 previous meetings came a decade ago and although the 32-year-old fought harder in the second set, he could not stop Djokovic from claiming his 40th Masters title.
This put him four Masters titles ahead of his nearest rival Rafa Nadal.
Djokovic only has three wins out of 100 Open Era titles, with only Jimmy Connors (109) and Roger Federer (103) ahead of him.
The win was sealed when Dimitrov sent a backhand wide, extending Djokovic’s winning streak to 18 games since his loss to Alcaraz in the Wimbledon title match in July. That made him red-hot for the season-ending ATP Finals, which begin on November 12th.
Dimitrov sobbed into his towel after missing the opportunity to win his first title in six years.
“I’ve been in situations like this many times… when I lost finals,” said Djokovic, who interrupted his on-court interview to hug Dimitrov.
“Of course I was lucky to win more finals than I lost. I really hope he continues to play at a high level. He played his best tennis this week and I wish him all the best. I hope he can win big events.”