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HIGHLIGHTS: Karen Khachanov defeats Novak Djokovic to win the Paris Masters

 

 

While Novak Djokovic passing Rafael Nadal for No. 1 is the most significant shift in this week's ATP rankings, there were many other moves of interest, from young stars reaching new heights to some precipitous drops after last year’s Paris Masters and ATP Finals points dropped off.

But first, Djokovic. Having fallen as low as No. 22 earlier this year—he was still at No. 21 going into Wimbledon, in fact—the Serb won 31 of 33 matches starting with his title run at the All England Club, including his 14th Grand Slam singles title at the US Open and two more Masters 1000 crowns. Now back on top, he's the first man to be ranked outside the Top 20 and rise to No. 1 in the same season since Marat Safin did so in 2000.


LACOSTE projected images of both Novak Djokovic and René Lacoste on the Bibilothèque François Mitterrand building in Paris.

“I always believed that I can actually get myself back to that level,” said Djokovic, whose last day as the top-ranked player in the world had come almost exactly two years ago, on November 6, 2016.

“Five months ago it didn’t really look probable, but the grass-court season was a catalyst.”

With Nadal pulling out of next week’s ATP Finals, Djokovic is guaranteed to finish the year at No. 1. It will his fifth career year-end No. 1 finish, after doing so in 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015, too.

Three of the most promising young stars on the ATP tour set new career-highs this week, led by new Rolex Paris Masters champion Karen Khachanov, who is up to No. 11. The Russian had only cracked the Top 20 for the first time two weeks ago after winning the 250-level event in Moscow.

“I couldn’t be happier to finish the season like this,” Khachanov said after beating Djokovic in the final. “To win my last tournament of the season, especially at a Masters 1000, and against Novak, who’s going to be No.1 in the world, it means the world to me.”

Two more young stars, Borna Coric and Daniil Medvedev, continued their climbs towards the Top 10 as well. Coric, who recently made his first Masters 1000 final in Shanghai, rose to a new career-high of No. 12, while Medvedev, who recently won his first 500-level title in Tokyo, set a new high of No. 16.

With last year’s ATP Finals points dropping off this week, along with those accrued last year in Paris, there have been some sizable drops for former Top 10 players. Grigor Dimitrov, who won the ATP Finals last year, fell from No. 10 to No. 19. David Goffin, the runner-up at the ATP Finals last year who had to end his season in September due to an elbow injury, fell from No. 12 to No. 22. But those slides wee nothing compared to that of Jack Sock, who was defending champion’s points in Paris and semifinal points in London. He nosedived from No. 23 all the way down to No. 105.

There was good news for another former Top 10 player, Kei Nishikori, who has won 19 of his last 25 matches. He moved from No.11 to No.9, his first time in the Top 10 since last September. The former No. 4, who missed the last three months of 2017 due to a wrist injury, was as low as No. 39 in April.

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