Tennis

Djokovic stunned by Russia's Khachanov

Serb falls in Paris Masters final, barely 24 hours after defeating Federer

Russia's Karen Khachanov clinched the biggest victory of his career with a 7-5, 6-4 win over Novak Djokovic to claim the Paris Masters title last night.

The 1.98m Russian, who is ranked 18th in the world, didn't let the gulf in rankings show as he ended world No. 2 Djokovic's 22-match winning run.

Going into the Paris Masters, Khachanov, 22, had won just three of his 19 matches against players in the top 10.

But in the past week, he defeated four top players - world No. 8 Dominic Thiem, John Isner (No. 9), Alexander Zverev (No. 5) and Djokovic, who will replace Rafael Nadal as world No. 1 when the latest rankings are released today.

Djokovic's defeat last night came barely 24 hours after a semi-final victory over Roger Federer, which he described as "one of the best matches" between the long-time rivals.

The Serb outlasted Federer in just over three hours to prevail 7-6 (8/6), 5-7, 7-6 (7/3).

We had epic matches throughout our rivalry but this one definitely ranks as one of the best matches we played. Novak Djokovic, on his semi-final victory over Roger Federer

Djokovic has won his last four meetings with Federer and now leads the Swiss 25-22 overall, having not lost to the 20-time Grand Slam champion since 2015.

"We had epic matches throughout our rivalry but this one definitely ranks as one of the best matches we played," said Djokovic, after denying Federer a historic 100th title.

"High quality tennis. Next to the match I played against Nadal in the semis of Wimbledon, this was definitely the most exciting match I was playing this year, and probably the best quality tennis match that I was part of.

"When I get to play Roger, I know I have to get the best out of myself in order to win. And that's why our rivalries and matches are so special."

Despite losing to Djokovic, Federer was upbeat as he looked forward to the ATP Finals.

"At the end, it came down to a few things here and there," said Federer. "But overall I'm happy with my game. It's better than last week in Basel.

"There I won the tournament and here I played in the semis and it needed somebody of Novak's calibre to beat me.

"So that's all right. And I'm looking forward to a rest now and a good preparation for London (ATP Finals)."

Meanwhile, Argentina's world No. 4 Juan Martin del Potro has withdrawn from the ATP Finals, which take place from Nov 11 to 18 at London's O2 Arena.

He will be replaced by Japan's Kei Nishikori, who will join Djokovic, Nadal, Federer, Thiem, Zverev, Kevin Anderson and Marin Cilic at the elite eight-player event. - AFP

Tennis