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Unseeded Karen Khachanov Stuns Novak Djokovic to Clinch Title in Paris Masters
Khachanov became the third different first-time winner of a Masters tournament this year -- joining John Isner and Juan Martin del Potro-- and denied Djokovic a fourth title in a row ahead of his return to world number one on Monday.
Russia’s Karen Khachanov clinched the biggest win of his career on Sunday with a 7-5, 6-4 upset of Novak Djokovic to claim the Paris Masters title. Khachanov became the third different first-time winner of a Masters tournament this year — joining John Isner and Juan Martin del Potro– and denied Djokovic a fourth title in a row ahead of his return to world number one on Monday.
“To finish the season like this is really a dream come true,” said Khachanov, who will rise to a career-high of 12th when the latest rankings are published on Monday.
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Going into the event, Khachanov had won just three of 19 encounters against players in the top 10 but claimed a fourth such scalp in a week after snapping Djokovic’s 22-match winning run.
Djokovic, who will reclaim the top ranking from Rafael Nadal for the first time in two years, made a strong start in his pursuit of a record-equalling 33rd Masters title as he broke for a 3-1 lead in the opening set.
But world number 18 Khachanov, a winner at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow last month, hit back in the very next game as Djokovic dragged a forehand into the tramlines, down break point.
The unseeded Russian then broke Djokovic for a 6-5 lead, momentarily faltering as he tried to serve out for the set before calmly regrouping to surge ahead.
Djokovic overcame Roger Federer in an energy-sapping thriller that lasted over three hours in Saturday’s semi-finals, and the Serb began to look weary as he dropped serve to a fall behind early in the second set.
Khachanov refused to give his opponent the slightest opening, and sealed a memorable victory after an hour and 37 minutes when a Djokovic forehand went long.
(With Agency Inputs)
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