Novak Djokovic produced a clinical performance against Grigor Dimitrov in the 2023 Rolex Paris Masters final that saw him secure a straightforward 6-4, 6-3 victory to take his seventh title at the event.
The win was a departure from his earlier three-set battles in the tournament, highlighting his adaptability, conditioning, and championship mentality that’s propelled him to a record forty Masters 1000 titles.
Dimitrov, on the other hand, didn’t quite have the physical capabilities on the day. Although he kept the scoreline relatively close, he could not unsettle Djokovic, who dominated in most areas of the court.
Djokovic’s triumph was characterized by a solid baseline game and efficient serving display, with an 88% first-serve win rate in the opening set. These factors enabled him to exert control and maintain dominance throughout the match.
The victory extends Djokovic’s winning streak to 18 matches and increases his lead in the Live Race To Turin, boosting his chances of finishing as the year-end No. 1 for a record eighth time.
Now leading 12-1 in head-to-head matchups, Djokovic continued his dominance over Dimitrov, who had impressively defeated Medvedev and Tsitsipas to reach the final but couldn’t match the Serbian’s level on the day.
It’s incredible. To be able to win it after quite challenging circumstances for me this week. Basically, coming back from the brink of losing three matches in a row on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. I was very close to losing those matches and somehow managed to find an extra gear when it was needed. Today, I think we both were quite tight at the beginning, and I could see that he was running out of gas a little bit. I myself as well, but I somehow managed to find an extra shot over the net. I think the match was closer than the scoreline indicates, but another amazing win for me. I’m very proud of this one, considering what I’ve been through this week. Djokovic on winning his 7th Bercy title.
2023 Rolex Paris Masters Final Result
|Novak Djokovic (1)||Grigor Dimitrov||6-4 6-3|
|Novak Djokovic||Grigor Dimitrov|
|1st Serve Percentage||67%||51%|
|1st Serve Points Won||81% (26/32)||71% (25/35)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||69% (11/16)||42% (14/33)|
|Break Points Saved||0% (0/0)||25% (1/4)|
|1st Return Points Won||29% (10/35)||19% (6/32)|
|2nd Return Points Won||58% (19/33)||31% (5/16)|
|Break Points Converted||75% (3/4)||0% (0/0)|
|Net Points Won||100% (5/5)||70% (7/10)|
|Max Points In Row||7||5|
|Service Points Won||77% (37/48)||57% (39/68)|
|Return Points Won||43% (29/68)||23% (11/48)|
|Total Points Won||57% (66/116)||43% (50/116)|
|Max Games In Row||3||1|
|Service Games Won||100% (9/9)||70% (7/10)|
|Return Games Won||30% (3/10)||0% (0/9)|
|Total Games Won||63% (12/19)||37% (7/19)|
Quick Thoughts on the 2023 Paris Masters Final
Given the 11-1 H2H record in Djokovic’s favour, it is evident that Dimitrov had to produce something extra special to win, but he never really got a foothold in the match.
Several things weren’t in his favour on the day. Firstly, he’d played five tough matches to get to the final. While he didn’t look dead on his feet, you could tell his movement wasn’t quite as explosive as you’d need.
Second, the pressure of playing in a big final for the first time in six years can’t be underestimated, and it showed in the opening stages of the first set when he looked tense and not that free-flowing.
And thirdly, he was facing the best player in the world by some distance.
So, was a Dimitrov win possible? Outside a significant drop in level from Djokovic, I’m unsure. With Dimitrov’s game style, you need to be able to take the ball earlier than he did (or can) to trouble Novak.
Rublev showed signs of that blueprint last night, as Djokovic noted in his post-match interview where he said the Russian strangled him like a Boa Constrictor takes down its prey but couldn’t quite keep it up over three sets.
As we saw over the last 10/15 years, Federer’s victories against Djokovic came thanks to his ability to take the ball inside the baseline and create constant pressure.
That was his only path to success, as he wouldn’t consistently outgrind him from the baseline or hit through him.
Neither can Dimitrov, but his issue is that he needs just a touch longer on the ball than Federer, and Djokovic can exploit that by stepping up the court himself.
As a result, the match played out as I expected. Djokovic wasn’t under any pressure on the baseline, and he didn’t have to do too much thinking. He could rally on his terms, found a comfortable groove to play in and just needed to ensure he kept that level.
For Dimitrov, he ends the year inside the top fifteen and has played some of the best tennis I’ve seen from him in recent memory.
He was visibly upset when he returned to his chair before the trophy ceremony, but I hope that was more a positive emotion from all the decent tennis he’s played over the last couple of months rather than being disheartened.
It’s difficult to explain emotions, I think. You want it. It’s tough when it doesn’t happen. Only I know, in a way, without feeling sorry for myself, what I’ve gone through the past months on and off the court. Those are happy tears. I don’t want to have them as something negative. I’m human, after all. At the end of the day, I think just the buildup, not only of the last two weeks, the last months of hard work and the big trip in China, everything has snowballed daily, match after match. Dimitrov on his show of emotion after the final.
If he can stay fit (he recently said he’s paid more attention to diet, which is working for him.), he’ll keep improving into 2024 and should be able to factor in any tournament he enters.
What did you guys think of the final? Let me know in the comments.