NOVAK DJOKOVIC boosted his chances of finishing the season as world number one when he became the first player to retain his Paris Masters title with a 6-2 6-3 win over big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic in the final yesterday, writes Julien Pretot.
The top seeded Serb, who did not drop a set in Bercy to clinch his third title here, perfectly read the seventh-seeded Raonic's serve to prevail in a one-sided encounter. His 600th career win extended Djokovic's unbeaten indoors run to 27 and gave him his 20th Masters title while Raonic, who will have to do more than serve big if to climb up the ladder, lost his second final at Masters level in as many attempts.
Both players will be taking part in the ATP World Tour Finals from November 9-16 in London, where Djokovic will be favourite to secure the world number one spot for 2014 after he more than doubled his lead over second-ranked Roger Federer.
If he plays at the O2 like he has been playing in Paris, he will finish the year on top of the world rankings for the third time. Djokovic stole his opponent's first service game as he raced to a 3-0 lead, benefiting from Raonic's early nerves. The Canadian, who lost in the Montreal Masters final last year, saved three more break points in the sixth game, two of them with aces.
In the following game, Djokovic fell 0-40 down on his serve but Raonic lacked accuracy to convert the break points. The seven-times grand slam champion called for a trainer to massage his right leg at change of ends but the problem did not seem to bother him as he returned to the court to wrap the opening set on Raonic's serve after two awful unforced errors by the Canadian.
Things got from bad to worse for Raonic, who was limited to nine aces after bombing down 21 against Federer in the quarter-finals, as he produced a double fault to go 2-0 down against the top seed.
The Serb comfortably held serve and set up two match points in the eighth game, only for Raonic to save them with a service winner and a forehand passing shot.
Djokovic, however, bagged his sixth title of the season with a forehand down the line winner on his third match point in the following game.