David Ferrer failed to hold on to the Paris Masters title he won last year, falling 7-5, 7-5 to Novak Djokovic in Sunday’s final.
The world number three, who had overcome a run of nine straight defeats against compatriot Rafa Nadal in Saturday’s semifinal to be in with a chance of defending his crown, broke the Serbian’s serve in both sets but on each occasion was unable to hold on at the crucial moment of serving for the sets.
It was a match that displayed both the virtues and limitations of the Alicante-born player. Firmly applying his tactic of maneuvering Djokovic into a corner to stop him from commanding the game and maintaining a fast rhythm, he ended up handcuffed when the Serbian started to take the game to his backhand and his parallel shots offered no solutions.
Djokovic’s second win in Paris-Bercy clears up a few things about his race with Nadal to finish the year in the number one spot, which now moves on to the World Tour Finals, which begin in London on Monday.
The world number two, who is defending the 1,500 ranking points from his unbeaten run at the event in 2012, now cannot afford to lose a match in 2013. And even if he lifts the trophy again, Nadal will still finish the year as number one if he wins two of his matches in the British capital.
Both men open their campaigns on Tuesday with Nadal again playing Ferrer and Djokovic matched with Roger Federer.