Novak Djokovic beat Grigor Dimitrov for the ninth time in 10 career meetings to progress to his 6th Paris-Bercy final. In the process, Djokovic joined his big-three mates Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal to play in 50 Masters 1000 finals.
The only player in Masters 1000 history to have won a title at each of the 9 tournaments on the calendar, Djokovic, with 4 titles, is the all-time title leader at the last Masters 1000 tournament of the year in the French capital.
One of three players, the others being Nadal (384) and Federer (381) to rack up 350 Masters 1000 match wins, Djokovic (354) will take on Canadian young gun Denis Shapovalov for a record-extending 5th Paris title in his landmark Masters 1000 final.
The 32-year-old Serb is the all-time title leader at Indian Wells (5), Miami (6), Shanghai (4), and Paris-Bercy (4) and has reached at least 3 finals at each of the 9 Masters 1000 tournaments on the calendar.
Djokovic would look to emulate both Federer and Nadal in celebrating the milestone title match with a win. Victory in the Paris final over Shapovalov would mark Djokovic's 5th (or more) triumph at 3 different Masters 1000 tournaments (Miami-6, Indian Wells-5).
The young Canadian advanced to his first Masters 1000 final after Rafael Nadal withdrew from the semifinal owing to an injury.
Shapovalov is the fifth player this season to reach a Masters 1000 final, following Fabio Fognini, Dusan Lajovic, Daniil Medvedev, and David Goffin. Victory over Djokovic would make Shapovalov the third first-time Masters 1000 winner this season (Fognini and Medvedev being the others) and the 70th player overall to win a title in the elite tournament category.
The Canadian left-hander, who is assured of a return to the top 20 in the world rankings, following his run in Paris, would move to the cusp of the top 10 if he becomes only the sixth player to beat Djokovic in a Masters 1000 final (Nadal-6, Murray-5, Federer-3, Zverev-1, Khachanov-1 being the others).
Djokovic has won all three meetings with Shapovalov, winning in the Round of 32 at the Australian Open, Madrid, and Shanghai this year. Victory in the Paris final would help the Serb slash Nadal's 1280 point lead to half, ahead of the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals in London, where Djokovic would look to seal a record-tying 6th year-end world no. 1 ranking.Published 02 Nov 2019, 23:13 IST