Novak Djokovic Strolls To 34th Masters Title In Paris To Boost Year-End No.1 Hopes - UBITENNIS
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Novak Djokovic Strolls To 34th Masters Title In Paris To Boost Year-End No.1 Hopes

A solid performance from Serbian sets him up for a showdown with Rafael Nadal in the race for year-end No.1.

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Novak Djokovic - Bercy 2019 (foto via Twitter, @RolexPMasters)

Novak Djokovic is on the verge of drawing level with nemesis Rafael Nadal for the most Masters 1000 titles won in history after claiming a record fifth title at the Paris Masters.

 

The top seed proved too much for Next Gen star Dennis Shapovalov during his 6-3, 6-4, win in the French capital on Sunday. Making it the fourth time he has defeated the 20-year-old this year. In their latest clash, Djokovic sealed the win with 10 winners to seven unforced errors. A stark contrast to Shapovalov’s more erratic tally of 24 and 22. Furthermore, Djokovic also won 80% of his service points.

“It was a great tournament for me. I didn’t drop a set, I played really well. Especially in the last three matches.” Djokovic told The ATP after.
“I thought that as the tournament progressed, I felt more confident, more comfortable on the court and I was playing better.”

Contesting his 50th Masters final, Djokovic broke once in each set en route to victory. In the opener the Serbian raced to a 3-0 lead in just eight minutes before Shapovalov managed to find his footing on the court. Despite a rise in the level of the Canadian, it was not enough to halt the 16-time grand slam champion as he eased to a 6-3 lead, after exactly 30 minutes of play.

It was a case of deja vu in the second set with a single break proving to be once again decisive. This time it was seven games in after a Shapovalov forehand slammed into the net to reward Djokovic the break for 4-3. In cruise control, the world No.1 closed the match out emphatically with a love service game. Sealing victory with a forehand winner.

“Obviously for Dennis it was his first time playing in a Masters 1000 final. A completely different experience for him. He has done well.” Djokovic said of his opponent.
“I think we both served well today for some reason. Maybe because there are so many people in the stands today it was a bit warmer, so it was easier to serve and quicker (on the court).” He added.

The triumph in Paris is the 77th ATP title the 32-year-old has won. Placing him joint-fifth in the all-time list along with John McEnroe. He is also now one trophy behind Rafael Nadal in the honour of most Masters titles won. Nadal’s record currently stands at 35.

Djokovic has also enhanced his chances of ending the season as world No.1. His points earned from both Paris and London last year will drop off on Monday. Meaning Nadal will return to the top spot with a 640-point lead heading into the ATP Finals.

“I was feeling confident throughout the last three days. That gives me a lot of encouragement going into the World Tour Finals in London.” Djokovic declared. “I have a week to rest, get ready and hopefully have another great tournament.”

Up to 1500 points will be up for grabs at the ATP Finals, which will get underway next Sunday. The draw for the tournament will take place on Tuesday.

 

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Karen Khachanov edges Mikael Ymer in marathon match in Melbourne

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Karen Khachanov battled past Mikael Ymer 6-2 2-6 6-4 3-6 7-6 (10-8) in a marathon match after 4 hours and 14 minutes.

 

Ymer broke serve twice in the second and fourth games of the fourth set to open up a 4-1 lead. Khachanov broke back in the seventh game, but Ymer broke for the third time to take the fourth set 6-3.

Khachanov broke serve in the sixth game to take a 4-2, but he was broken back in the next game.

Khachanov was not able to serve out the match at 5-3 in the fifth set before trailing 6-8 in the decisive match tie-break. Khachanov came back by winning four consecutive points to clinch a thrilling win.

Australia’s Alexei Popyrin beat Spain’s Jaume Munar 6-2 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 after 2 hours and 4 minutes setting up a third round match against Danil Medvedev. Popyrin broke twice in each of the first and third sets and saved all four break point chances.

Taylor Fritz came back from two sets down to beat Kevin Anderson 4-6 6-7 (5-7) 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 6-2. Anderson was leading by two sets and 4-2 in the third set, but Fritz broke back before winning the third set at the tie-break. Fritz cruised through the fourth and fifth sets. Fritz will face Dominic Thiem in the third round.

“That was huge for me. He played a really tough five setter just the other day and then obviously coming back. Going back to back five setters is going to be tougher for him than usual. I felt fresh, so I just told myself that I have to keep running”,said Fritz.

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Stan Wawrinka battles past Andreas Seppi in five sets to reach the third round in Melbourne

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Former Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka rallied from losing the first set to beat Andreas Seppi 4-6 7-5 6-3 3-6 6-4 after 3 hours and 36 minutes reaching the third round for the first time in three years.

 

Wawrinka went up an early break in the second game to take a 3-0 lead. Seppi broke back in the fifth game and held his serve to draw level to 3-3. Seppi broke for the second time with his forehand after two deuces in the 9th game and served out the first set at 15 in the 10th game.

Wawrinka earned three break points at 2-3 in the second set, but Seppi saved them. The Italian player saved another break point chance with his backhand at 3-4, before breaking serve in the ninth game.

Wawrinka broke back in the 10th game, when Seppi was serving for a two-set lead at 5-4 in the second set, and earned his second consecutive break in the 12th game to win the second set 7-5.

In the third set Wawrinka earned two break points with a forehand return. The Swiss player converted his second chance with a crosscourt forehand return winner and held his next service games to win the third set 6-3.

Seppi saved four break points in the seventh game of the fourth set before breaking serve in the eighth game. After going down a break at 3-4 in the fifth set, Wawrinka claimed two consecutive breaks in the 8th and 10th games to seal the win. Wawrinka secured his spot in the third round, where he will face Chile’s Alejandro Tablio 6-4 6-3 6-3.

“It was a tough five-setter that could have gone either way. I kept fighting and I am super happy to get through. The match against Isner will be tough. He is a very dangerous player. You don’t get a lot of opportunities. You need to stay strong, be aggressive, try to make him play as much as possible. That’s it. Stay positive all the match”,said Wawrinka.

 

 

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Andrey Rublev overcomes Yuichi Sugita to reach the third round at the Australian Open

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Number 17 seed and this year’s Doha and Adelaide champion Andrey Rublev extended his winning streak to ten consecutive matches with a 6-2 6-3 7-6 (7-5) win over Japan’s Yuichi Sugita after 1 hour and 53 minutes.

 

Rublev won 38 of his 42 first-service points and 8 of his 10 net points. Rublev earned two consecutive breaks in the seventh and ninth games to win the second set. Both players held serve in the third set. Sugita saved the only break point in the 12th game to hold his serve. Rublev sealed the tie-break 7-5 on his second match point.

The 22-year-old Russian player has dropped just three sets in ten matches and won back-to-back titles in Doha and Adelaide in the first two weeks of the 2020 season.

Rublev hit 20 aces and dropped only four first serve points and never faced a break point.

“The back injury was really tough. Even when I already started to play, I was feeling that I was still not there. Even when I came back after the back injury, it took me four, five months to start again to feel I am here, I am playing tennis again. I started telling to myself: “Try to enjoy, you are on court. Then, when the wrist injury happened, at the beginning it was even worse. Finally, when I play my first tournament, and actually I lost my first match, it was in Halle, I was 7-6 in the third against Mats Moraing. Inside I was feeling that even though I lost, I was a little bit happy that I am here. I am playing. I am enjoying it. From that time, I started to play better and better every week”.  

Rublev set up a third-round match against David Goffin, who beat Pierre Hughes Herbert 6-1 6-4 4-6 1-6 6-3. Rublev earned two breaks of serve in the second and sixth games to win the first set 6-1. The Belgian player went up a double break in the fifth and seventh games to take a 5-2 lead. Herbert pulled one break back in the eighth game at love for 3-5. Goffin served out the second set in the 10th game. Goffin got an early break in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. Herbert broke back in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3. Herbert sealed the third set 6-4 with a break in the 10th game. Herbert earned two breaks to race out to a 4-0 lead. Goffin got one break back in the fifth game at deuce, but he dropped his serve for the third time to lose the fourth set 1-6.

In the fifth set Herbert broke serve in the third game to take a 2-1 lead, but Goffin broke straight back in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2. Both players traded breaks in the sixth and seventh games. Goffin sealed the win with a break in the eighth game to seal a thrilling win after 3 hours and six minutes.

Ernests Gulbis beat Aljaz Bedene 7-5 6-3 6-2 in 2 hours and 20 minutes. Gulbis saved all eight break points and broke four times. Gulbis sealed the first set with a late break at 6-5. The Latvian player got another break in the fifth game to clinch the second set 6-3 and raced out to a 6-2 win in the third set with two breaks of serve.

Gael Monfils came back from losing the first set to beat Croatian veteran Ivo Karlovic 4-6 7-6 (10-8) 6-4 7-5. Monfils dropped his serve in the first game of the opening set. Karlovic missed a set point in the tie-break of the second set. Monfils earned two breaks in the third and fourth games to close out the match.

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