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A fifth RPM title won for Novak Djokovic, the 34th Masters 1000 title of his career, and a huge step taken towards reclaiming the world No.1 spot from Rafa Nadal and ending the year as the best player on the planet for the sixth time. It had been quite a 65 minutes on court for the Serb on Sunday afternoon.

Djokovic was, as Djokovic so often is, untouchable in the final. He squashed Denis Shapovalov 6-3, 6-4, showing the 20-year-old Canadian just how you go about winning a big title. He gave nothing away, he left nothing to chance; he took one look at everything Shapovalov had to offer – a thumping serve, a willingness to come forward and a belief that he could hold his own from the back of the court – and he found a solution to the problem. And he did it in a matter of minutes.

After five minutes, Shapovalov was a break down; after 55 minutes, he was a set and a break down. There was no coming back.

“For Denis, it was his first Masters 1000 final,” Djokovic, who had just played his 50th Masters 1000 final, said. “For him, it was a completely new experience. I think we both served well. I was solid when I needed to be and I made a break. That was enough.”

He made it sound so simple but, then again, when is playing like this, he makes it look so simple, too.

Nothing gets past him

It took Shapovalov most of the first set to settle into his surroundings. He had said before the match that he always knew his game was capable of causing the big men trouble, it was just a case of biding his time until it happened. The last few weeks have been good for the Canadian – as well as reaching the RPM final, he won his first title in Stockholm a couple of weeks ago – but facing Djokovic with a big title at stake was challenge on a completely different level.

“Definitely trying to return his serve today [was the most frustrating part],” Shapovalov said. “I think he was serving really well. He just places it well. It's tough to read. He changes it up, has a good variety. He was really picking his spots today, so I had maybe one chance, but it was tough. I mean, he played solid.”

So often when a player is doggedly, dependably consistent, they get lumbered with the moniker “the human back board”. It may sound like an unflattering description but it truly does describe Djokovic when he is at his best – nothing gets past him. He made just seven unforced errors in two sets and when he did let a ball spray wide, it drew a gasp of disbelief from the crowd. Good grief: he missed a forehand. Has the world gone mad?

“This has given me great confidence"

At the other end of the court, Shapovalov was racking up 22 unforced fluffs and it was costing him dear. But his undoing was his second serve; at points in the match, he was winning just seven per cent of his second service points. If he missed the first thunderbolt, Djokovic was lapping up his second delivery like a cat laps up cream.

Only once did Shapovalov have a hint of a chance. Just broken to go 4-3 down in the second set, he perked up when Djokovic played a few sloppy points. He had a break point (one of those rare forehand-long-and-crowd-gasping moments). But then the soon-to-be champion took a deep breath, identified his target and served his way out of trouble. The match was all but over.

While there is the slightly irritating fact of not being the world No.1 as of Monday morning, Djokovic could not be happier. He will go to London for the ATP Finals just 640 ranking points behind his old rival and he will go there knowing that he has reached peak form at just the right time.

“This was a great tournament for me,” he said. “I haven’t dropped a set and I’ve played great the last three matches. I’ve been feeling confident, especially the last three days, and this has given me great confidence for London. Now I have a week to rest and get ready.”

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