Locked in a battle for the year-end No. 1 ranking, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal moved to within a win of a colossal final showing Sunday in the Paris Masters.
Djokovic, who’s behind Nadal in the 2019 points race, destroyed Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-1, 6-2, avenging a loss to the Greek last month.
“I played one of the best matches of the season. I prepared myself very well for this match,” Djokovic said after the 58-minute win. “I lost to Stefanos about three weeks ago in Shanghai. and obviously I went through the videos, understand what I did well, what I didn’t do so well, what I can do better.”
Djokovic will now take on US Open semifinalist Grigor Dimitrov. The Bulgarian got pat Cristian Garin 6-2, 7-5.
“Since the US Open he’s playing at a different level, a high level. He always had the game. It’s just sometimes a matter of things coming together, really, mentally and at the right time,” Djokovic said of Dimitrov. “The past three months have been quite good for him results-wise. Beating Roger US Open was a huge confidence booster for him, I’m sure. And he’s been playing some terrific tennis this week.”
Nadal kept pace by dismissing French favorite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6(4), 6-1. He’ll now get the surprising Denis Shapovalov who continued a strong fall season beating Gael Monfils 6-2, 6-2.
With a win, Monfils would have taken the final spot in the ATP Finals but never had a chance. Instead, that now belongs to Matteo Berrettini who completes the field.
“To be honest, Denis outplayed me,” said Monfils. “It wasn’t the best match I played. But I think I couldn’t have [done much] better today. I gave everything I had, and Denis was just too good for me today.”
Shapovalov advances to his fourth Masters semifinal and he’s 8-1 in his last nine matches.
“I feel like with that title with Stockholm, it kind of gave me a sense of calmness, relief,” said Shapovalov. “I’ve just been able to enjoy the last couple weeks of the season and, because of that, I feel like I’ve been able to play really well.”
The Canadian and Nadal have split two career meetings.
“I’ve beaten both of them before, but they’re unbelievable players, and they’ve beaten me as well. It’s going to be a tough match,” said Shapovalov. “They’ve been having amazing weeks, and they’re both playing some really good tennis. So hopefully we can have an exciting match.”
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