World number one Novak Djokovic continued his quest for a seventh Paris Masters title with a quarter-final victory over Holger Rune on Friday. Djokovic’s steady performance avenged his previous year’s defeat by the resilient young player, winning 7-5, 6-7(3), 6-4. He now prepares for a semi-final showdown against Russian fifth seed Andrey Rublev, who overcame Alex de Minaur with a score of 4-6, 6-3, 6-1.
Victory for the 20-year-old Rune would have secured his place in Turin for the ATP Tour Finals. However, his debut at the prestigious year-end event is still assured, as De Minaur had to clinch the title to prevent the Dane from qualifying.
Djokovic’s win also resulted in Germany’s Alexander Zverev earning a spot in the ATP Tour Finals.
Rune’s impressive play delighted the Paris crowd, and he saved a match point at 4-5 in the second set before an inspired tiebreak forced a decider. Djokovic remained unflustered and secured an early break in the third set. Rune’s chances were hampered by a hand injury that required extensive treatment during a changeover.
In the final set, the sixth seed could not impact Djokovic’s serve, as the Serbian notched his 16th consecutive victory since his loss in the Wimbledon final. Djokovic commented, “It was quite a similar match to last year’s final; it was anybody’s game in every set.”
In earlier matches at Bercy, Greek player Stefanos Tsitsipas extended his impressive form with a 6-3, 6-4 triumph over Russia’s Karen Khachanov, setting up a semi-final clash against Grigor Dimitrov. Tsitsipas, who secured his place in Turin the day before, displayed exceptional shot-making skills and remained unbeaten in sets while defeating strong opponents like Felix Auger-Aliassime and Alexander Zverev.
Tsitsipas showcased a diverse game in the first set, utilising his all-court abilities and precise serving to gain the upper hand. He then took an early lead in the second set, although Khachanov briefly rallied to level the score. Nevertheless, Tsitsipas quickly regained control and secured his 300th professional career win, delighting the crowd with a delightful drop shot on match point. Tsitsipas remarked, “It’s working well. It feels good to have so much variety and so much diversity in the way you can play.”
Dimitrov defeated Hubert Hurkacz 6-1, 4-6, 6-4, ending the Pole’s hopes of qualifying for the ATP Finals.