Can Novak Djokovic close the gap on the world No. 1 rank, or will Denis Shapovalov follow up his maiden ATP title with an even bigger one?
<div><h2>Novak Djokovic(1) vs. Denis Shapovalov</h2><p>Sunday, November 3, Paris</p><p>Novak Djokovic has made it to the final! Coming into this crucial week in the pursuit of closing the 1280 point gap on Rafael Nadal for year end world No. 1, there were question marks regarding the brilliant Serb. Defending Finalist points from last year, that was never going to be an easy task, with next-gen duo Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas set to stand in the way en route to the final. However, the sensational Russian was promptly upset in his opener against Jeremy Chardy, leaving the pathway to the final open.</p><p>Djokovic N. - Dimitrov G. SF 7-6(5), 6-4</p><p>Djokovic N. - Tsitsipas S. QF 6-1, 6-2</p><p>Djokovic N. - Edmund K. R16 7-67, 6-1</p><p>Djokovic N. - Moutet C. 2R 7-62, 6-4</p><p>With the mammoth Medvedev threat out of the way, the 32-year old´s worst enemy would then be his own body. Struggling with the flu, Djokovic looked under the weather at the start of the week, committing a flurry of unforced errors in fairly worrisome performances. Especially against Corentin Moutet in the first match, as well as for portions of the first set against Kyle Edmund in the subsequent tousle. In the quarterfinal awaited Stefanos Tsitsipas, who had just beaten the world No. 2 from a set down in Shanghai a few weeks ago. Novak had clearly done his homework since then and put in a scintillating performance to absolutely demolish the young Greek.</p><p>With Thiem fatigued and Medvedev upset, the one to take advantage was a resurgent Grigor Dimitrov, who would stand for the semifinal opposition. Both men played incredibly behind their delivery, and no breakpoints were offered en route to a first-set tiebreak. There, it would be the Bulgarian who will rue his missed opportunity, missing a drive volley for 6-4 and two set points. Instead, Novak would prove clutch when it mattered most and take home the tiebreak. Finding a break early in the second set, the door was slammed shut as the Serb offered no breakpoints in the closing effort.</p><p>Denis Shapovalov came into this tournament on a high, after finally getting the monkey off his back with a maiden ATP title in Stockholm two weeks ago. Previously a 7-time semifinalist, losing all seven matches in straight sets, the 20-year old Canadian showed no nerves when finally getting over that line. Dominating Filip Krajinovic in straight sets in his maiden final, one felt that the immensely talented ball-striker would find some momentum in typical streaky fashion. After understandably failing to back up the title with a good week in Wien, that momentum would continue here in Paris.</p><p>Shapovalov D. - Nadal R. SF (WO)</p><p>Shapovalov D. - Monfils G. QF 6-2, 6-2</p><p>Shapovalov D. - Zverev A. R16 6-2, 5-7, 6-2</p><p>Shapovalov D. - Fognini F. 2R 3-6, 6-3, 6-3</p><p>Shapovalov D. - Simon G. 1R 2-2(ret.)</p><p>Benefitting from an early retirement from the often tricky Frenchman in Gilles Simon will certainly have been a relief for the world No. 28, who thus moved on without much fuss. The enigmatic but highly skilled Italian Fabio Fognini is rarely fit and motivated this late in the year, and has struggled to produce results indoors. Yet, with London hopes still alive it would be the world no. 12 taking the first set 6-3, before Shapovalov turned the tables on the increasingly agitated Fabio to win the next two sets by the same scoreline.</p><p>Largely dominating despite only hitting 55% of first serves would be a theme that continued against the world no. 6 in Alexander Zverev. The German could not contend with the controlled aggression displayed by the Canadian, and hitting a positive ratio of 38 winners to 37 unforced errors was key in edging that affair in straight sets. In the quarterfinal, home hope and hugely popular Gael Monfils had one last chance to qualify for London: Win and he´d be in. Despite this, there was not any doubt of who would emerge victorious. Breaking in the world no. 13´s second service game, Shapovalov never looked back. Only relinquishing 2 points behind the first serve all match, conceding no break points and outhitting a very good defender it was the performance of the quarterfinal night. An epic fight was slated against world No. 1 Rafael Nadal, but the Spaniard injured himself during the warmup and was forced to give a walkover, sending Denis through to the final.</p><p>This will be the fourth H2H matchup between the pair, and it´s been the defensive mastery of the world No. 2 who has emerged victorious in the battle against heavy baseline aggression thus far. Leading the competitive meetings 3-0, Djokovic has been largely untroubled, only dropping one set at the Australian Open earlier this year, winning the rest of the sets comfortably. That includes a 6-3, 6-3 drubbing at the recent Shanghai Masters.</p><p>However, under the guidance of Mikhail Youzhny, Shapovalov has improved by leaps and bounds in the last few months. Noticeably calmer and with increased confidence after the Stockholm title, the 20-year old has been playing top-5 tennis this week. The strength behind serve has been impressive, and the one-two punch with the lefty slider out wide will cause Djokovic plenty of headaches. Sporting an elite 115.6 hold/break total over his last 10 main level matches, it certainly seems proceedings will be much closer on this occasion. With the way the pair have been serving all week, longer sets look likely, but we´re still seeing a fairly low total. One close set would likely see us over the 20.5 <a href="http://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=150&a=a710bfac-73c1-4a57-b441-2caf1b9f397b&f=1" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">William Hill </a>line, and that´ll be the selection for this matchup.</p><p><strong>Best bet: Over 20.5 games at 1.80 (4/5) with [<a href="https://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=150&a=a710bfac-73c1-4a57-b441-2caf1b9f397b&f=1" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">William Hill</a>] 2u</strong></p></div>