Tennis

Novak Djokovic extends lead over Rafael Nadal

Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer hold many Masters 1000 records. The famous trio set the bar high and achieved things that will be surpassed in the future. Djokovic, Nadal and Federer are the only players with 50 Masters 1000 finals, competing in 159 combined and six against each other.

Djokovic has moved in front of his main rivals in recent years, ranking as the proud owner of 56 Masters 1000 finals, three more than Rafael Nadal. Djokovic’s first Masters 1000 finals came in 2007, and he is more than competitive 15 years later.

The Serb played in two title matches this year, winning the crown in Rome and finishing runner-up in Paris. The Paris Masters was Novak’s 56th Masters 1000 final, playing for the title for the eighth time in the French capital and seeking a seventh title.

Novak opened the action against Maxime Cressy and prevailed 7-6, 6-4 in one hour and 43 minutes. Djokovic dropped six points behind the opening shot and kept up the pressure on the other side. The American did his best to stay competitive, hitting 15 aces and running to the net nearly 50 times.

Cressy saved four of five break points and led 4-3 in the second set before Djokovic delivered his lone break and rattled off three straight games to emerge on top.

Novak Djokovic is in only 56 Masters 1000 finals.

The Serb defeated Karen Khachanov 6-4, 6-1 in the third round to advance to the quarterfinals.

Djokovic defeated Khachanov for the eighth time in nine matches, experiencing the only defeat in the Paris Masters final four years ago. The Serb lost serve once and delivered four breaks in eight chances to control the score and navigate to the last eight.

Novak tamed his shots very well and hit 18 winners and 16 unforced errors. He had more service winners than Khachanov, outplaying him from the baseline and in the shortest and most advanced exchanges. A six-time champion beat young Italian Lorenzo Musetti 6-0, 6-3 in 74 minutes for a spot in the semi-final, becoming the first player with 50 indoor Masters 1000 wins!

Novak claimed the first goal on short notice and had the lead on the second after an early setback for a convincing win. Seeking a place in his eighth Paris Masters final, Djokovic prevailed over Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-2, 3-6, 7-6, coming within three points of defeat in the deciding tiebreaker before emerging on top.

Novak overcame that hurdle but fell in the last one, losing the title clash to 19-year-old Holger Rune 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 to settle for the second prize. If he plays enough Masters 1000 events in 2023, the Serb could become the first player with 60 Masters 1000 finals.

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