It’s a slightly unexpected but very exciting final matchup at the 2023 ATP Rolex Paris Masters. Novak Djokovic, of course, isn’t the surprise package, although there was a slight aura of uncertainty regarding his performance given we hadn’t seen him on the court since the US Open. Meanwhile, Grigor Dimitrov is seeking his first title in six years and is contesting in his second final at the ATP 1000 level.
Novak Djokovic vs Grigor Dimitrov
Head-to-head: Djokovic 11-1
Over the past three days, Novak Djokovic has had to spend eight and a half hours battling Tallon Griekspoor, Holger Rune, and Andrey Rublev. The World No. 1 upped his game after suffering from a stomach bug against the Dutchman, but all these long encounters might take their toll physically on Sunday. He’s been excellent at conserving energy in the post-prime stage of his career, but even he has his limits.
Grigor Dimitrov has had a very consistent season, which until recently simply lacked some highlights like a win against a top opponent or a title. He’s now defeated the likes of Carlos Alcaraz and Daniil Medvedev in less than a month and this is such a brilliant opportunity for him. To defeat the World No. 1 and pick up his first title in six years (ATP Finals 2017) would be the perfect cherry on top of his brilliant 2023 campaign.
The head-to-head doesn’t bode too well for Dimitrov, including two matches against Djokovic in Paris (2016, 2019). Some of their recent clashes have been very competitive though, even if sometimes the scorelines didn’t reflect it. But that’s generally the thing with the Bulgarian – he pushes the big guns, but rarely comes out on top.
Is this his moment? He’s been playing well enough and if he can just keep it close, maybe the 36-year-old will crack physically due to the accumulated fatigue from the last three days? Dimitrov has certainly had a different feeling about him the last three weeks or so, he makes you think this time he might pull it off. He also has the athleticism and ability to reset with the slice, traits that could help him outlast the Serbian if a chance to win the final that way presents itself.
Prediction: Dimitrov in 3
Main Photo Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports