Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Paris Masters: Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic into quarter-finals

Kazakhstan’s Kukushkin outplays Herbert at Paris Masters Djokovic back on top of world rankings
Rita Gibson | 03 November, 2018, 05:44

Roger Federer defeated Italy's Fabio Fognini 6-4, 6-3 to reach the Paris Masters quarter-finals as the Swiss great moved three wins away from his 100th career title. Majors and Masters have been hard to come by, and the No1 ranking a near-impossible target-except for Andy Murray, who got his reward in 2016 after 78-match-wins, nine titles and a third Major title. "The doctor says if I want to play the tournament, I want to try to win the tournament, the abdominal with break for sure".

"It gave me an extra day of rest which I needed, because one shouldn't have too many matches in a row", he said, adding that he had enjoyed "a massage and a nice dinner" instead of playing.

A double break of serve put Federer 4-1 up before Fognini broke back with a backhand victor down the line. Instead, Federer received a walk-over into the third round, where he will face Fabio Fognini on Thursday.

It marked the culmination of a dizzying ascent by the Serb, who had slumped to No.22 in the rankings in mid-June but subsequently won grand slams at Wimbledon and the US Open as well as Masters 1000 titles in Cincinnati and Shanghai.

Should Nadal be fit for the eight-man ATP Finals he will be joined on the London bill by Djokovic, Juan Martin del Potro, Roger Federer, Alexander Zverev and Kevin Anderson.

Cilic is closing in on an ATP Finals berth. "He can play very aggressively and also defend well", said Djokovic. "Haven't played for a little while now, so I'm looking forward to that one", said Thiem who leads Sock 2-1.

De Bruyne out for up to six weeks
City manager Pep Guardiola said he was confident De Bruyne would be back to his best despite the discouraging development. Earlier on Friday, sources had told ESPN FC that De Bruyne would miss the visit of Manchester United on November 11.

"I am very close to London, to securing my spot mathematically", said Cilic, who is part of the Croatia team facing France in the Davis Cup final at the end of this month.

Federer's return to Bercy for the first time in three years delighted his vast Parisian fan club. Bulgarian ninth seed Grigor Dimitrov, who is working with United States legend Andre Agassi in Paris, went through with a 7-6 (12/10), 6-4 victory over Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut.

Cilic booked a meeting with Djokovic after defeating Grigor Dimitrov in straight sets. World number eight Dominic Thiem boosted his chances of qualifying for the ATP Finals, beating Gilles Simon 6-4, 6-2 and next faces Borna Coric for a quarter-final slot.

John Isner, however, is set to miss the Finals after losing to Karen Khachanov in a tussle featuring two tie-breaks in nearly two and a half hours.

The 37-year-old Swiss maestro, saved two break points when serving at 4-3 up in the second set.

Isner's USA compatriot Jack Sock, who's the defending Paris Masters champion, also advanced with a 6-0 6-4 triumph over Malek Jaziri.

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