PARIS (AP) — Novak Djokovic became the first man to successfully defend his title at the Paris Masters with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Milos Raonic on Sunday, putting himself in a commanding position in his fight with Roger Federer for the year-end No.1 spot.
Djokovic, who did not drop a set during the whole week, claimed the 20th Masters title of his career and won the indoor tournament for the third time, matching the tally of his coach Boris Becker in the French capital.
“To be able to win it two years in a row with the final tournament of the year ahead of me, it’s great,” said Djokovic, who neutralized Raonic’s big serve with his sharp returns. “I played the best match of the entire week today when it was most needed.”
Unbeaten on an indoors court in two years, the Serb made a big step in his bid to finish the year at the top for a third time. Djokovic extended his lead over Federer to 1,310 points before the ATP Finals starting a week from now in London, where Djokovic is the two-time defending champion.
Federer had cut the deficit to 490 points but his quarterfinals loss in Paris has hampered his bid to overtake Djokovic in London, where a potential 1,500 points are up for grabs.
The 23-year-old Raonic, who has never beaten Djokovic in their four meetings, appeared apprehensive and could not convert his few openings.
Djokovic’s only scare came in the first set when Raonic won eight straight points but failed to convert three consecutive break opportunities.