Sports

Djokovic marks return to No.1 with Paris Masters stroll

Djokovic marks return to No.1 with Paris Masters stroll

Djokovic's return to No 1 when the new ATP rankings are released next Monday was sealed on Wednesday when the current holder of that accolade, Rafa Nadal, had to pull out of the Paris event with an abdominal injury.

"I'm obviously very proud of the achievement, " said Djokovic, whose ranking slipped to No. 22 in May as he struggled to shake off a persistent elbow problem. If I can do well here in Paris and beat (Djokovic), all the better, " Federer said.

"I always believe in myself, but five months ago, if you'd told me I would be back to number one so quickly, it was highly improbable considering my ranking and the way I played and felt on the court".

Later Thursday, Federer faces volatile Italian Fabio Fognini for a place in the last eight.

Djokovic's 20th consecutive win sets up a last-eight clash with Marin Cilic.

South African seventh seed Kevin Anderson, the champion in Vienna at the weekend, battled past Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia 6-3, 6-7 (3/7), 7-6 (7/3).

Early in the season, the leadership kept the Rafael Nadal, then the Spaniard three times, exchanging positions with Roger Federer, who managed to become the oldest leader of the rating in the history of the ATP tour.

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The 31-year-old Serb has returned to his brutal best this season with Grand Slam wins at Wimbledon and the US Open, along with ATP Masters triumphs in Cincinnati and Shanghai. Fernando Verdasco, who reached the quarter-finals previous year, produced a clinical display to defeat Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 6-4, 6-4. "The doctor says that is recommended to not play, because if I continue the abdominal maybe can break and can be a major thing".

Cilic, who has beaten Djokovic just twice in 17 meetings, ended reigning ATP Finals champion Dimitrov's season.

For Nadal, it is the second straight year he has withdrawn from the Paris indoor tournament and he is not sure if he will play at the season-ending ATP Finals in London, starting November 11.

Novak Djokovic is into the quarterfinals of the Paris Masters after Damir Dzumhur retired from their match on Thursday.

"It was great to be here in Paris for a couple of days and practice with the guys", said Nadal who hasn't played since the US Open.

Sock goes up against Dominic Thiem on Friday after the 2018 French Open finalist edged Borna Coric 6-7 (3-7) 6-2 7-5.

In other matches today, American defending champion Jack Sock progressed to round three.


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