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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 20 November 2018

'Dream come true' for Karen Khachanov after stunning Novak Djokovic to win Paris Masters

Russian was too strong for a struggling Djokovic, who will return to No 1 in the world rankings on Monday

Karen Khachanov poses with the Paris Masters trophy after beating Novak Djokovic in Sunday's final. AFP
Karen Khachanov poses with the Paris Masters trophy after beating Novak Djokovic in Sunday's final. AFP

Russia's Karen Khachanov completed his season in perfect style by stunning Novak Djokovic in the Paris Masters final on Sunday.

Khachanov, 22, continued his imperious form in the French capital by dismantling an out-of-sorts Djokovic 7-5, 6-4 to win the biggest title of his career.

Khachanov became the third different first-time winner of a Masters tournament this year - joining John Isner and Juan Martin del Potro - and denied Djokovic a fourth title in a row ahead of his return to world No 1 on Monday.

"To finish the season like this is really a dream come true," said Khachanov, who will rise to a career high of No 12 when the latest rankings are published on Monday.

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Going into the event, Khachanov had won just three of 19 encounters against players in the top 10 but claimed a fourth such scalp in a week after snapping Djokovic's 22-match winning run.

Djokovic, who will reclaim the top ranking from Rafael Nadal for the first time in two years, made a strong start in his pursuit of a record-equalling 33rd Masters title as he broke for a 3-1 lead in the opening set.

But Khachanov, a winner at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow last month, hit back in the very next game as Djokovic dragged a forehand into the tramlines, down break point.

The unseeded Russian then broke Djokovic for a 6-5 lead, momentarily faltering as he tried to serve out for the set before calmly regrouping to surge ahead.

Djokovic, who had been struggling with flu for much of the week, overcame Roger Federer in an energy-sapping thriller that lasted over three hours in Saturday's semi-finals, and the Serb began to look weary as he dropped serve to a fall behind early in the second set.

Khachanov refused to give his opponent the slightest opening, and sealed a memorable victory after an hour and 37 minutes when a Djokovic forehand went long.

"I want to talk about how well he played all week," Djokovic said. "He absolutely deserved to win the match today. So all the credit to him. He deserves it.

"He's a young player up and coming. But already an established player, a top player. And he showed great quality today and he showed why we're going to see a lot of him in the future.

"I'm satisfied of course and I'm going to be No 1 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."

Tennis fans in the UAE will soon have the chance to see Khachanov and Djokovic in action as both players are confirmed to take part in the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in December.