Novak Djokovic Overcomes Tough Test to Reach Paris Masters Final
Novak Djokovic maintained his flawless record in the semi-finals at the Rolex Paris Masters on Saturday night, after a grueling battle against Andrey Rublev in the French capital.
The world No. 1 triumphed over the fifth seed Rublev with a score of 5-7, 7-6(3), 7-5, moving one step closer to his seventh ATP Masters 1000 title. Despite facing challenges from the baseline and receiving treatment for a lower back injury between sets two and three, Djokovic displayed unwavering determination in the decisive set, ultimately securing victory after three hours and two minutes of intense play.
Djokovic’s Resilience Amidst Adversity
“I have been dealing with a rather difficult stomach virus that has made me feel unwell for the past three days, but somehow I managed to summon the strength and energy, fueled by the adrenaline of the match,” Djokovic revealed when asked about his proudest moment this week in his pursuit of a seventh Paris title. “I never gave up, fought relentlessly, and maintained belief in my ability to stage a comeback, which has once again become a reality. I hope to carry this spirit into tomorrow’s final.”
A Dominant Force in Paris-Bercy
Djokovic has now extended his unbeaten record to 9-0 in the semi-finals at Paris-Bercy. In Sunday’s title match, he will vie for his 40th Masters 1000 crown against Grigor Dimitrov, who secured his spot by defeating Stefanos Tstisipas 6-3, 6-7 (1), and 7-6 (3).
A Battle of Momentum
Although Djokovic broke Rublev’s serve in the opening game, he struggled to find his rhythm in the first set at the Accor Arena. Rublev capitalized on the Serbian’s eight unforced errors, including a backhand drop shot that barely cleared the net, to claim the set.
Djokovic, who had previously required three sets to overcome Tallon Griekspoor and Holger Rune in the earlier rounds, displayed signs of fatigue throughout his match against Rublev. Nevertheless, this did not deter him from exerting pressure on his opponent in subsequent games. In the second set, Djokovic earned four break points compared to Rublev’s one, although neither player managed to convert them. Ultimately, it was Djokovic who elevated his game during the tie-break, leveling the match.
Djokovic’s Determination Prevails
Despite receiving treatment for his lower back before commencing the final set, Djokovic exhibited unwavering focus as he dictated the baseline rallies against the hard-hitting Rublev. The fifth seed managed to save two break points and escape from a 15-40 deficit in the fourth game. However, he faltered at 5-6, double-faulting under pressure on match point, which ultimately handed the victory to Djokovic.
“I faced fitness issues once again at the beginning, but I managed to overcome them,” Djokovic acknowledged. “Winning the second set was crucial. I served exceptionally well during the tie-break, and that greatly aided my performance.”
“In the third set, I felt that Rublev was constantly present on his serves, creating opportunities. He served remarkably well when it mattered, but unfortunately, he double-faulted in the end. It was an unfortunate conclusion for him, but considering the immense effort and determination I displayed, particularly in the third set, I believe I deserved the victory.”