By Florian Heer
(November 3, 2013) PARIS – The last ATP Masters 1000 tournament of the season featured two of the top three players at the top of the rankings as world No. 2 Novak Djokovic met defending champion David Ferrer for the 16th time. Before Sunday’s final the Serb led 10-5 head-to-head and also won the last four meetings.
Sunday’s encounter became and exciting and highly entertaining one with long rallies, particularly at the beginning of the match. Ferrer gained his first break point after 18 minutes in the fifth game and capitalized on it through a beautiful drop shot after one of the week’s longest rallies – 36 shots. The Spaniard saved break points in the following and confirmed the lead. Djokovic was breathing heavily after six games already and it was the Serb, who paid the physical price for the tough rallies in the beginning of the match. From then on, however, Djokovic successfully tried to shorten the rallies. In a very efficient way, the 2009 Paris champion won four games in a row to take the opening frame after 53 minutes.
Ferrer grabbed the momentum back with a break in the opening game of the second set, which would become a copy of the first set. Again in the tenth game, the Spaniard couldn’t serve out the set and Djokovic came back from 3-5 down to even at 5-5 in first place and eventually take the break in the twelfth game and therewith the match. After one hour and 52 minutes of a hard fight, Ferrer seemed to be tired and the “Djoker” took the encounter winning 7-5, 7-5. The Serb gained his sixth title of the season, the 40th in his career, and keeps his hopes alive for finishing No.1 by winning the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London next week. “It’s always a pleasure to play against David,” Djokovic told the crowd at the fully packed Palais Omnisports in Bercy in his best French. “Today I was really lucky in the crucial parts of the match. The crowd was really great this week, without the supporters this would not have been possible. I worked really hard to play well here and I’m so happy to gain the title,” the Serb said.
“I am definitely playing the best tennis this year now. I’m playing on a very high level and have lots of confidence in myself, in my game.
“I knew that coming into the match I’m going to have to work for my points. He’s a great competitor, one of the most respected guys on tour because he works hard and he’s very humble and he’s a very nice person.
“It was very physical, trust me. But in the last few games of both sets it was mental in the end, just trying to show your opponent that you’re there, that you want to attack, that you want to take your opportunities.
“From tomorrow I’m going to start thinking about London. From tonight, actually. Because on Tuesday night I play Federer already, a huge challenge for me.”
“I think it was a really good match, really good rallies,“ Ferrer said. „I played maybe better than yesterday, and I lost.
“I am happy with my game, because the last few tournaments I [played well] and I am happy with myself. Now I want to relax and be with my team, and tomorrow I travel to London for the last tournament of the season.”
In the morning the two top-seeded doubles teams consisting of Bob & Mike Bryan as well as Alexander Peya and Bruno Soares, met for the title. In the opening set it was Soares of the Austrian-Brazilian-combination, who lost his serve twice and in the second, it was Peya. Consequently the US-American twins captured their 11th title of the season winning 6-3, 6-3 in one hour.
“It was great week for us,“ Bob Bryan said. “We’re very happy with our performance against a team that has had a fantastic year and who is playing with a lot of confidence at the moment. Hopefully this bodes well for the last tournament of the season.
“This city has been good to us during our careers. We appreciate the support from the Parisian crowd and today’s atmosphere was fantastic for doubles. We’ll travel onto London tonight and we look forward to playing at The O2, another venue where the spotlight shines brightly on our sport.”
“An extraordinary tournament with all the best players at the top of the game led to a fantastic week,” the tournament director Guy Forget concluded.