It wasn’t to be for Denis Shapovalov in his first ATP Tour Masters 1000 final at the Rolex Paris Masters, as he went down 6-3, 6-4 to top seed Novak Djokovic in front of a packed Parisian crowd on Sunday afternoon.
The first set got off to an ominous start for the Canadian as the World No. 1 – who will lose his top spot Rafael Nadal next week by virtue of a rankings quirk – held with ease before being gifted an early break following several Shapovalov miscues. An early 3-0 lead after 10 minutes would be all that Djokovic would need to claim the early advantage and, aided by nearly 70% of unreturned serves, he would take it 6-3 in half an hour.
— Tennis Canada (@TennisCanada) November 3, 2019
Facing break point in the first game of the second set, the match threatened to get away from the Canadian who, playing in just his second career final, was struggling to find the same untouchable level he was able to reach in his quarter-final victory over Gael Monfils. However, Djokovic isn’t considered one of the greatest players of all time for no reason, and the incessant pressure on serve and return was becoming a tall order for Shapovalov to manage.
Although the Shapovalov managed to save that early break point with a magnificent sliding serve out wide, Djokovic was unwilling to relent on his own serve, continuing to hold with ease until he was ultimately able to pounce in the seventh game of the set. Shapovalov would get his first look at a break point in the proceeding game, but another return error would bail the 16-time Grand Slam champion out of trouble.
After 65 minutes and a hold to love, Djokovic was the champion in Bercy for the fifth time. For Shapovalov, reaching a final of such prestige was yet another career milestone and an excellent way of capping off a rollercoaster ride of a 2019 season. He’ll finish the regular ATP Tour season as the Canadian No. 1 and a member of the Top 15 of the ATP Rankings.
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) November 3, 2019
Nevertheless, there’s one more competition remaining for the left-hander: the Davis Cup Finals in Madrid in two weeks time, where he will lead a Canadian team of Félix Auger-Aliassime, Milos Raonic and Vasek Pospisil into battle in a quest for Davis Cup glory.
(Feature photo: Rolex Paris Masters)