PARIS (AP) — Novak Djokovic won the last four games in each set to beat defending champion David Ferrer 7-5, 7-5 Sunday in the final of the Paris Masters.
The second-seeded Serb won his 17th straight match to capture his sixth title this season and the 40th of his career. "Summer was up and down," Djokovic said, "and now again I'm playing on a very high level and have lots of confidence in myself, in my game. I'm at a good spot at this moment."
Ferrer led 5-3 in each set, but Djokovic came back both times and clinched the victory when the Spaniard sent a forehand into the net. Djokovic, who still has a slim chance to finish the season ahead of No. 1 Rafael Nadal in the rankings, hit 34 winners to 15 for Ferrer and won 15 of 18 net points.
Ferrer upset Nadal in Saturday's semifinals, while Djokovic rallied from a set and a break down to beat Roger Federer. Ferrer troubled Djokovic early in the match with his deep groundstrokes, and hit a backhand drop shot to break for a 3-2 lead. But Djokovic, a 2009 Paris Masters champion, started playing more aggressively, and broke back in the 10th game with a forehand winner down the line.
The Australian Open champion went a set up when Ferrer's forehand sailed long. "The opening four or five games went really the distance, and he was the better player," Djokovic said. "He was taking the ball and running me around the court. Physically I didn't feel as good today, but in the important points, in the important moments, I managed to overcome the challenge. I managed to play the right shots."
Djokovic dropped his serve in the opening game of the second set and then needed to hit two straight forehand winners to save two break points at 2-0. Despite numerous backhand errors, Djokovic kept the pressure on Ferrer, who again failed to serve out the set at 5-4.
Djokovic capitalized on a long forehand from the Spaniard to break back before hitting an ace for a 6-5 lead. "With Nole, if I don't take my chance, it's impossible to beat him," Ferrer said. "In the important moments he's better than me."
Djokovic improved to 11-5 against Ferrer, who was looking to become the first player to win back-to-back Paris Masters titles. Nadal unseated Djokovic atop the rankings by reaching the final of the China Open last month. The Spaniard had the longest winning streak this year with 22 victories in a row from April to June and also from August to October.