Tuesday, 18 December, 2018

Tennis star Novak Djokovic loses to Karen Khachanov in stunning Paris upset

Roger Federer I am always on the road and sometimes it's stressful Novak Djokovic just beat Roger Federer in one of the best tennis matches you'll see all year
Frederick Owens | 05 November, 2018, 15:47

Roger Federer won his 99th career title at the Swiss Indoors in Basel and the 37-year-old had the chance to win his 100th this week at the Rolex Paris Masters, but he lost to Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals.

Remarkably, the Austrian's powerful serve was broken five times in a row by Khachanov at the end of the first set and throughout a surprisingly one-sided second.

The 22-year-old Russian has for some time been seen as one of the rising young talents of the sport but few could have envisaged his demolition of the Serbian superstar, who was on a three-month, 22-match winning streak.

"I won 20-plus matches in a row and had a most wonderful last five months of the year", Djokovic said following his 7-5, 6-4 defeat by Russia's Khachanov.

Federer has not won the tournament in Paris since 2011, but sealed his progression to Saturday's semi-final with a relatively routine 6-4, 6-4 win over Nishikori.

Khachanov will rise to world number 11 on Monday and becomes the first Russian since Nikolay Davydenko in 2009 to win a Masters 1000 title.

Djokovic, who has been suffering from flu-like symptoms all week, added: "I don't feel too good today but I'd like to give respect to Karen for playing a great match today and he deserves to win".

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"I didn't unfortunately. But I don't want to talk about that", Djokovic said.

The 1.98m Khachanov secured a break for 2-1 with a crunching backhand pass down the line that Djokovic could only net on the half-volley.

Despite missed opportunities by Khachanov, who also won titles in Marseille and Moscow this season, for a double-break advantage, he maintained his composure to serve out for a memorable victory.

But world number 18 Khachanov, unbeaten in three previous finals, hit back in the very next game as Djokovic dragged a forehand into the tramlines, down break point.

'So all the credit to him. Both players struck the ball cleanly from the onset and battled through a tight first set, the highlight of which came when Federer produced a stroke of genius at the net while down break point.

Thiem, the French Open finalist, came from behind to win 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 against Jack Sock, who won the title in Paris past year. "I'm getting into (the) season finale feeling good about my game".

"I was thinking, 'OK, (Djokovic) has, I don't know, 70 titles and I have three, '" Khachanov said.

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