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World No 1 Djokovic recovers to beat Medvedev for sixth Paris title

The Serb gained revenge for his defeat by Medvedev in the US Open final as he won a record 37th Masters 1000 title

Novak Djokovic with the 2021 Rolex Paris Masters Trophy Novak Djokovic with the 2021 Rolex Paris Masters Trophy – © AI / Reuters / Panoramic

ATP1000 Paris | Draw | Schedule | Finals

World No 1 Novak Djokovic produced a resilient and ultimately brilliant performance as he beat defending champion Daniil Medvedev 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 to win the Rolex Paris Masters title for the sixth time in his career.

The 34-year-old was outplayed in the first set but bounced back in style as he won a record 37th Masters 1000 title, the icing on the cake in a week in which he sealed the end of year world No 1 ranking for a record seventh time.

“Daniil, congratulations to you and your team,” Djokovic said. “I suffered a lot as well. I suffered in New York also. There’s a rivalry on the run here and I appreciate it.”

Having wrapped up the world No 1 spot, Djokovic went into the final with the pressure off, but also with revenge in his mind, having lost to Medvedev in the US Open final two months ago. And he achieved it by way of stunning defence but also through a surprise tactic, serve and volleying his way back into the match.

Fast start for defending champion Medvedev

Medvedev’s win in New York has added even more confidence to his steel and he began perfectly, breaking Djokovic in the opening game as the Serb left an attempted drop shot short.

Earlier in the week, the Russian had complained about the slowness of the Bercy courts but he picked up where he left off in his semi-final drubbing of Alexander Zverev, keeping Djokovic behind the baseline.

Djokovic broke back for 2-2 but Medvedev broke again for 4-3, playing a beautiful drop shot off a Djokovic drop shot and this time, he held the advantage, holding his own and then some from the baseline.

Djokovic serves and volleys his way back into it

At the start of the week, Medvedev was the only man who could have denied Djokovic the year-end No 1 ranking but the Serb took care of that by reaching the final and he wasn’t about to give up the fight.

At 2-1 to Djokovic and 40-15 on the Medvedev serve, the Russian thought he had levelled the set when a serve out wide was called good for an ace. But a Djokovic challenge was successful and the world No 1 duly won four points in a row to break for 3-1 and then extended his lead to 4-1.

Serve and volleying more often than usual, Djokovic tried to take the time away from Medvedev on returns and it worked, the Serb easing through his service games as he moved ahead 5-3.

It took a game lasting almost 12 minutes for him to clinch the set, though, as Medvedev forced three break back points only for Djokovic to close it out with an ace.

Djokovic turns the screw in the decider

The quality remained incredibly high as the third set began, both men hitting far more winners than unforced errors, pushing the boundaries of the court as they used angles and depth few players are capable of.

Medvedev looked strong at the start of the set but it was Djokovic who grabbed the vital break for 3-2, pummelling the ball from the baseline and continuingly coming forward on serve, to great effect. He broke again for 5-2 and the match looked over

Out of nowhere, Djokovic suddenly blinked, double-faulting to go 15-40 down on serve and then dropping serve as Medvedev flashed a backhand winner. But the wobble was only brief as Djokovic broke again to clinch a dramatic victor

“Congrats Novak,” Medevdev said, in fluent French. “A huge match. I suffered. I really wanted to win but you’re so strong. I hope we can have many more matches like that and I can win one out of two.” y.

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