Novak Djokovic has been among the most successful players on the hard court. The Serb has won the majority of his notable titles on the most common surface at Majors, the ATP Finals and Masters 1000 events. Once he wins the opening set in the hard-court ATP finals, the job is almost done for Novak, winning 55 titles and losing only two finals!
Djokovic won the opening set in 41 hard-court ATP finals between Adelaide 2007 and Canada 2016, winning all of them and embracing an incredible streak! Novak’s first loss after taking the opening set in a hard-court ATP final came on the big scene at the 2016 US Open, winning a tie break against Stan Wawrinka before dropping sets two, three and four.
The Serb bounced back and conquered the following 13 finals from a set up before Holger Rune ended it at the Paris Masters a couple of weeks ago. The young Dane became the second player to beat Novak from a set down in a hard-court ATP final after Stan Wawrinka, prevailing 3-6, 6-3, 7-5.
A teenager needed two hours and 33 minutes to topple a six-time champion and become the fourth-youngest Masters 1000 winner. Holger came to Paris with three Masters 1000 wins under his belt. He defeated five consecutive top-10 rivals to lift the trophy and write history books.
Novak had his chances to seal the deal and emerge at the top. He created three break chances at the start of the second set and squandered a game point that could have pushed him 4-1 in front in the decider. Also, the Serb made one last push while trailing 6-5 in the final set.
He created six break chances but wasted them to push the young gun over the top.
Novak Djokovic lost the Paris Masters final to Holger Rune after winning the opener.
Djokovic won five points more, but not the crucial ones.
Holger erased ten out of 12 break chances and converted all three break points to cross the finish line first. The Dane played aggressive tennis and fired 43 winners and 33 unforced errors. Novak dominated with his first serve and hit more service winners than Holger.
However, the youngster climbed back in the more extended baseline exchanges, taming his strokes nicely and staying focused when it mattered the most. Novak dropped five points behind the initial shot in the opener and broke Holger in game four for 3-1.
The more experienced player wrapped up the set on his serve in game nine and created three break chances at the start of the second. Rune stayed calm, denied them and broke for the first time in the next one after Novak’s loose forehand.
The Dane served well in the rest of the set and clinched it 6-3 with a hold at love in game nine to introduce a decider after 80 minutes. Novak broke at 15 in the fourth game after the rival’s double fault and had a chance to move 4-1 up in the next one.
Instead, Holger extended that game with a backhand down the line winner and broke back with a forehand crosscourt winner for more drama. Djokovic missed his chances on the return in game eight and sprayed a forehand mistake in the 11th to fall 6-5 behind.
Rune served for the victory in the 12th game, and it turned into a real roller coaster. Novak made one last push and created six break points that could have prolonged the battle. Rune saved them after challenging 17 minutes and seized the second match point to become the youngest champion in Paris since Boris Becker in 1986!
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