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Karen Khachanov wins Paris Masters title: Impressive Russian stuns Novak Djokovic to claim maiden Masters 1000 crown

Leye Aduloju in ATP Tour 4 Nov 2018
  • Karen Khachanov scored an impressive 7-5 6-4 victory over Novak Djokovic to claim the Paris Masters title
  • Khachanov climbs to No. 11 in the world after securing his first Masters 1000 title
Karen Khachanov. (Photo by ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP/Getty Images)

Karen Khachanov produced a superb performance to beat Novak Djokovic 7-5 6-4 and claim his first Masters 1000 title at the Paris Masters on Sunday.

Victory over Djokovic capped a sensational week for the young Russian, who defeated four top-ten players on his way to the biggest title of his career.

The 22-year-old saved two match points in a three-set third-round victory over John Isner, before blowing away Alexander Zverev and Dominic Thiem in successive matches, to set up Sunday's final against Djokovic.

As impressive as his run to the final was, Khachanov was a firm underdog against Djokovic, who was on a 22-match winning streak, and was looking to tie Rafael Nadal on 33 Masters 1000 titles. However, Khachanov played with the maturity and composure beyond his status to pick up his own maiden Masters 1000 title. 

"It means the world to me," Khachanov said after the match. "I couldn't be happier to finish the season like this."

Djokovic made a threatening start, forcing a break point in Khachanov's first service game, and breaking for the 3-1 lead when his Russian opponent next stepped up to the line, but Khachanov refused to fall away, breaking back immediately. The underdog was clearly growing in confidence, pinning Djokovic back, and testing the Serbian’s defence with his heavy forehand. 

Some stunning defence helped Khachanov to another break of serve in the eleventh game, and he competently closed out the set in the next game. Djokovic had come from a set down to beat Marin Cilic in the quarter-finals, capitalizing on a drop in intensity from the Croatian to get back into the contest, but Khachanov didn't make the same mistake, keeping his foot on the gas to force an early break in the third game of the second set.

The Russian did not offer Djokovic- arguably the finest returned in the sport- any break points in the second set, serving supremely at 85% for the set, and winning over 75% of points on both his first and second serves. He could have further stretched his advantage had he converted any of three more break points at 4-2. Djokovic dug deep to hold, but he couldn't find any joy on return, as the Khachanov went on to serve out his biggest win without any alarms.

Khachanov now has four career titles, having also won in Marseille and Moscow this year, as well as in Chengdu in 2016. He is 4-0 in ATP finals.

Djokovic might not have gone all the way in Paris, but it's still been a fantastic run for the Serbian who will officially reclaim the No. 1 ranking from Rafael Nadal on Monday.

"I'm satisfied of course and I'm going to be No. 1 tomorrow officially. What more can I ask for? I mean, I won 20-plus matches in a row and had a most amazing last five months of the year."

The Serbian next heads to London for the Nitto ATP Finals, while Khachanov, the latest champion in the sport, heads into his off-season with a new career-high ranking of 11.

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Karen Khachanov wins Paris Masters title: Impressive Russian stuns Novak Djokovic to claim maiden Masters 1000 crown

Karen Khachanov defeated Novak Djokovic in straight sets to win his first Masters 1000 title.

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