Novak Djokovic has secured his spot in the Paris Masters final where he will compete against Grigor Dimitrov. In a tense semi-final match, Djokovic defeated fifth seed Andrey Rublev with a score of 5-7, 7-6 (3), 7-5.
The top-ranked player in the world is aiming for his seventh title at the ATP Masters 1000, but has not consistently performed confidently in this event. This tournament marks his return since winning the US Open in September.
Rublev was in control of the opening set, capitalizing on eight mistakes made by his opponent from Serbia. The Serbian player needed treatment for his lower back after pushing the match into a third set with an ace, which lasted three hours and two minutes.
Djokovic, who sealed victory after a double-fault from the Russian, told Tennis TV: “Rublev was suffocating me like a snake suffocates a frog for most of the match.
“He was performing at an exceptionally high level. I was aware of his exceptional skills, but today he played exceptionally well. I have never faced a version of Rublev this impressive before. On the other hand, I faced some difficulties with my fitness at the start, but I managed to push through.”
Djokovic’s victory was his 14th instance of achieving 50 wins in a single year. This also extended his unbeaten streak to 17 matches, allowing him to advance to the 58th Masters 1000 final in his career.
Dimitrov, who was not seeded, will compete in his second ATP Masters 1000 final, his first since 2017. He earned his spot after a close 6-3, 6-7 (1), 7-6 (3) win against the seventh-seeded Tsitsipas in the semi-finals.
The Bulgarian successfully defended all four break points he encountered and was once trailing 15-40 in the third set before pushing himself to make a mental shift. He shared with the ATP website, “I realized that things couldn’t continue like this, so I needed to make a change.” He knew that in order to defeat his opponent, he had to push forward.
I didn’t shed any tears, but I became extremely emotional after the victory. Right now, I am fully immersed in this moment. Lately, it’s been a rollercoaster journey, but every win holds greater significance for me.
Dimitrov will attempt to win his ninth ATP singles title on Sunday, marking his first victory since 2017.