Points won by each set: [ 29-18, 31-35, 35-28 ]
Points won directly behind the serve:
25 % Pavel – 25 of 100
20 % Novak – 17 of 82

Consideration of Pavel’s ranking [191] in the context of Masters 1K final is shocking, but also a bit misleading. The Romanian was ranked inside the Top 30 in three consecutive seasons when he began the year 2003 with a back injury, and after losing the opening 8 matches of the new season he decided to take a break which lasted six months. When he came back to the tour he used the protective ranking [44] allowing to use it for 8 events or 9 months. Paris-Bercy meant his 5th event after a non-impressive comeback, he was low on the list of reserves for this tournament, but everyone above him pulled out and he was invited to play only Friday evening – two days before the event kicked off. Despite winning just three matches up to that point in 2003, he managed to get 4 wins in the French capital! Exactly a year before in the same city he’d defeated Novak 6-1, 6-3 which certainly helped facing the guy who was trying to advance to Masters. Novak [18] needed to win that match to become at least an alternate for Masters in Houston. In the 3rd set he saved two mini-match points at 2:4 to improve for 4-all. Then lost his serve quickly, and the Romanian asked for a trainer just in case of another change of ends (felt approaching cramps). Not being 100% fit Pavel saved a break point with offensive attitude in the last game of the match and forced Novak error on match point with another net-approach.

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