By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Sunday, November 5, 2023
Plagued by a stomach bug this week, Novak Djokovic still delivered monster Masters results in Paris.
The top-seeded Djokovic defeated buddy Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 6-3, collecting his record-extending seventh Rolex Paris Masters crown and astounding 40th Masters 1000 championship.
It is 18th straight win for Djokovic, who has not lost since bowing to Carlos Alcaraz in a classic Wimbledon final.
Raising his record to 12-1 vs. sometime practice partner Dimitrov, Djokovic has all but locked up his record-extending eighth year-end world No. 1 finish.
Drained by his wins over world No. 3 Daniil Medvedev, Antwerp champion Alexander Bublik, Shanghai champion Hubert Hurkacz and Australian Open finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas, Dimitrov lacked the legs and explosiveness he showed reaching his first Masters 1000 final since he won the 2017 Cincinnati.
Afterward, Dimitrov said the difference is clear: Djokovic is operating at a higher level than the rest of the ATP pack chasing him.
“Overall I was a little bit flat. That’s also my, like, summary of the match,” Dimitrov told the media in Paris. “But of course Novak in the finals is probably one of the biggest achievement you can have in our sport to beat him.
“I mean, so much respect for him. The way he’s competing on the court is, I think, I mean, on a completely different level. I have said it before. I think also when it comes to those clutch matches, he’s always been able to maximize his game, even if it’s not at his best, but he’s been able to maximize and put you in uncomfortable situations.
“On that end today I think he executed a lot of points and games in a very good way.”
Photo credit: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty