Novak Djokovic, Grigor Dimitrov to meet in Paris final

League: Tennis

Posted on: 04 Nov, 2023 at 09:24 PM

Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic of Serbia and unseeded Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria will meet in the final of the Rolex Paris Masters following three-set victories on Saturday.

Djokovic survived a difficult test from fifth-seeded Andrey Rublev of Russia, prevailing 5-7, 7-6 (3), 7-5 in a grueling three-hour, two-minute match. Earlier, Dimitrov defeated seventh-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece 6-3, 6-7 (1), 7-6 (3) in two hours and 32 minutes and will seek his first ATP title since 2017.

In his third straight three-set match at Paris, Djokovic showed signs of fatigue throughout against Rublev but kept the pressure on his opponent. In the second set, Djokovic captured four break points to Rublev's one and raised his game in the tiebreak to even the match.

"Rublev was suffocating me like a snake suffocates a frog for most of the match," said Djokovic. "He was playing an extremely high level that he possesses, but today he was off the charts, honestly. I don't think I've ever faced Rublev this good."

After treatment on his lower back after the second set, Djokovic took it to Rublev, who saved two break points to escape the fourth game. But trailing 5-6, he double-faulted on match point as Djokovic pulled out the hard-fought win.

"In the third set, I thought I was always there in his service games, having chances," Djokovic said. "He came up with some big serves when he needed to, but in the end, a double fault. An unfortunate ending for him, but I think I deserved it considering the amount of effort and fight I put in, especially in the third."

Awaiting Djokovic is Dimitrov, who pulled out a third-set tiebreak to beat Tsitsipas for just the second time in eight meetings, delivering a backhand pass on match point to seal the victory.

"I am just happy I was able to get through that match in such a manner," Dimitrov said. "After that second set, especially the tiebreak, it was getting very tricky again. 15/40 down in the third again and I was just thinking it can't keep going like this, so I have to change something. In order to beat someone like him I just had to step through. That is the only thing I could have done."

Dimitrov won 23 of 25 net points and saved all four break points for his seventh Top 10 win of the season.

"There were no tears but I got very emotional," Dimitrov said. "I am just living in the moment right now. It has been a funny road of late, but each win means more and more to me."

--Field Level Media