Im­pe­ri­ous Djokovic wins 5th Paris Mas­ters, 77th ti­tle

The Korea Times - - SPORTS -

PARIS (AP) — No­vak Djokovic looked im­pe­ri­ous in beat­ing an over­awed De­nis Shapo­valov 6-3, 6-4 Sun­day to win his fifth Paris Mas­ters fi­nal, clinch­ing a 34th over­all Mas­ters ti­tle in fine style to move one be­hind record holder Rafael Nadal.

At 32 years old, Djokovic has al­ready won 77 ti­tles in a stel­lar ca­reer and fully in­tends to add many more. “I don’t take them for granted like it’s some­thing nor­mal or usual or com­mon. I’ve been blessed to win so many big ti­tles in my life,” he said. “That’s one of the big­gest rea­sons why I’m still play­ing pro­fes­sional tennis, to fight for these big tro­phies and to still be able to play the high­est level.”

Shapo­valov was mostly out­classed, even though he was phys­i­cally fresh hav­ing avoided a po­ten­tially gru­el­ing semi­fi­nal be­cause the se­cond-ranked Nadal pulled out be­fore­hand with an ab­dom­i­nal strain.

Still, the odds were heav­ily stacked against the 20-year-old Cana­dian, who was ap­pear­ing in his first Mas­ters fi­nal.

“I put him un­der pres­sure for the se­cond serve and from the back of the court I was solid, not giv­ing him too many op­por­tu­ni­ties,” said Djokovic, who felt un­well with a sore throat ear­lier in the week. “I feel like the se­cond part of the week was ter­rific, it was im­prov­ing day by day in terms of my level.”

Djokovic never ap­peared trou­bled on his way to a fifth ATP ti­tle this year — level best with Do­minic Thiem. He served out the match with a love hold, hit­ting a fore­hand win­ner be­fore turn­ing to look at his box and rais­ing his arms in tri­umph. “It was my best serv­ing per­for­mance of the tour­na­ment,” Djokovic said. “De­nis maybe lost his fo­cus a bit.”

Shapo­valov en­tered the match with only one ca­reer ti­tle — a mod­est ATP 250-level tour­na­ment in Stock­holm last month — and hav­ing lost his three pre­vi­ous en­coun­ters against a 16-time Grand Slam win­ner con­sid­ered among the all­time greats of tennis.

The big-serv­ing left han­der looked tense, mak­ing three un­forced er­rors in his first ser­vice game and slip­ping quickly to 3-0 down against a com­posed Djokovic play­ing in his 50th Mas­ters fi­nal and 111th over­all.

AP-Yon­hap

South Korea’s Hwang Dae-heon com­petes dur­ing the fi­nals of the men’s 1000-me­ter at a World Cup short track speed­skat­ing event at the Utah Olympic Oval in Kearns, Utah, Sun­day. Hwang won the gold medal, fol­lowed by Rus­sia’s Vic­tor An’s sil­ver and South Korea’s Park Ji-won’s bronze.

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