ATP Paris: Novak Djokovic eases past Karen Khachanov

The six-time Paris Masters champion Novak Djokovic is safely through into the last eight at one of his favorite tournaments. The most decorated player of the season’s last Masters 1000 event took down Karen Khachanov 6-4, 6-1 in an hour and 27 minutes for a place in the last eight. Novak is not 43-8 in Paris, reaching ten quarter-finals here and 90 at the Masters 1000 level, joining Rafael Nadal on that milestone. Djokovic has won the last 11 matches, continuing where he left at Wimbledon and looking like a player to beat in Paris and Turin. The Serb beat the Russian for the eighth time in nine encounters and the seventh time in a row after losing the Paris Masters final four years ago. Djokovic dropped 13 points in nine service games and gave away serve once from the only chance offered to Khachanov.

Novak Djokovic defeated Karen Khachanov for the seventh straight time.

The lower-ranked player needed more to stay competitive after losing 53% of the points behind the initial shot. Novak grabbed 17 out of 21 points on the second serve return and produced four breaks from eight opportunities to control the scoreboard and sail into the last eight. Djokovic tamed his strokes nicely and hit 18 winners and 16 unforced errors. He had more service winners than Khachanov, outplaying him from the baseline and in the shortest and more advanced exchanges. Novak broke in the encounter’s second game after the rival’s loose forehand and held in the next one for 3-0. Karen painted a forehand down the line winner in the fifth game for two break chances and clinched the first after Novak’s double fault to reduce the deficit.

The Russian saved two break points in the eighth game (the second with a beautiful lob winner) and held for 4-4 and more drama. Djokovic left those chances behind, held at love in game nine and forced the rival’s mistake at 5-4 to wrap up the opener in 49 minutes. With a boost on his side, Novak delivered three consecutive holds at love in the second set, and Karen could not follow that pace. Khachanov survived the second game after four deuces before Djokovic broke him at love in game four with a volley winner for 3-1. The Serb forced the Russian’s error in game six for another break and a 5-1 advantage. Novak served for the victory in game seven and seized the fourth match point with an unreturned serve for a place in the last eight.