Novak Djokovic keeps Paris Masters defence alive with Round of 16 triumph
Novak Djokovic might feel he has settled an old score with a Paris Masters Round of 16 win over Karen Khachanov.
Khachanov took the championship match off of Djokovic in 2018 but wasn’t close to matching that level in a a 6-4, 6-1 third-round victory for the Serbian.
Djokovic is now on two separate 11-match winning streaks, one on the ATP Tour and another at the Paris Masters.
Khachanov was the last man to defeat Djokovic at this event but could not engineer a repeat.
It wasn’t a match without any peril for Djokovic who saw Khachanov race out to a 3-0 lead in the first set.
Once Djokovic drew level with Khachanov the momentum of the match swung in the Serbian’s favour decisively.
However, the Russian would struggle from that point on as the Djokovic converted four of eight break points and struck 17 winners to wrap up an 87-minute win.
Djokovic was a picture of patience and calm as he managed to turn several rallies around when he looked for all money set to drop a point.
Djokovic’s 11-match winning streak has included title runs in Tel Aviv and Astana, and now the Serbian seeks to maintain his good European indoor hard-court form.
The 21-time Grand Slam winner is chasing a record-extending seventh title in Paris and a record-equalling sixth crown at the ATP Finals in Paris in two weeks’ time which would put a tidy gloss on a season that has been hard of the former rankings king.
A title run in the French capital would also earn the 35-year-old a record-extending 39th Masters 1000 crown overall. His quarter-final opponent in Paris will be Lorenzo Musetti, who upset third seed Casper Ruud 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 earlier on Thursday.
Musetti played with confidence throughout the 139-minute clash in the French capital, striking 37 winners as he pulled the Norwegian from corner to corner to reach his maiden ATP Masters 1000 quarter-final.
“I am really happy,” Musetti said. “I think we played a great match until the end. A lot of remarkable shots from his side. He was playing really well and I had to play my best tennis to beat him. I am really happy that all the hard work I am doing keeps improving me. I am really proud of this win.”
Musetti is on a winning streak of his own having claimed a title at the much-maligned Naples Cup.
While that tournament was played in less-than-ideal conditions Musetti has proven that he does have the form to justify that championship win.
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