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Carlos Alcaraz, Novak Djokovic cruise to Paris Masters quarters | tennis news

PARIS: Number one in the world Carlos Alcarazo defeated Grigor Dimitrov in straight sets on Thursday, while Novak Djokovic continued his title defense in the Paris Masters by also reaching the quarterfinals.
Spanish teenager Alcaraz, hoping to win a third Masters title of the year after previous successes in Miami and Madrid, defeated former world number three Dimitrov 6-1, 6-3 in 72 minutes.
Alcaraz will be confirmed as the year-end number one for the ATP Finals in Turin later this month when he picks up the trophy in the French capital this weekend.
“It wasn’t his day. He wasn’t playing at his best, but I was playing my game,” said the 19-year-old US Open champion.
Alcaraz will face Holger Rune for a last four place after the Dane eliminated seventh seed Andrey Rublev with a 6-4, 7-5 win.
The top league got off to a quick start at Bercy Arena, taking nine of the first 10 games to take full control of the game.
Dimitrov was able to break back in the second set, but Alcaraz broke again in the eighth game and comfortably took the win.
He hit 16 winners and made just six unforced errors in a dominant display, while Dimitrov saw 24 unforced errors fly off his racket.
Djokovic, who was looking for a record-lengthening seventh Bercy title this week, defeated Russia’s Karen Khachanov 6-4, 6-1.
The 21-time Grand Slam champion, already the winner of a record 38 Masters crowns, will face Lorenzo Musetti for a semi-final spot.
Djokovic extended his winning streak in individual tournaments to 18 games, dating back to his loss in the quarterfinals of the French Open to Rafael Nadal in May.
The Wimbledon champion has now won 10 of his 11 encounters with Khachanov – the only defeat in the 2018 Paris Masters final.
He won a tight opening set, but won in the second, five games in a row.
“Khachanov is someone I know very well,” said Djokovic. “We train a lot and played against each other almost ten times on different surfaces. He beat me in the final four years ago, so I know he likes this surface, he likes these conditions.”
Italian youngster Musetti defeated third seed Casper Ruud in three sets to reach his first Masters quarterfinal, where he will face Djokovic.
The 20-year-old, on a career-high ranking of 23rd, came from behind to beat Norwegian Ruud 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.
“He played very well and I had to do my best.” tennis to beat him,” Musetti said.
“I’m really happy that all the hard work I’m doing continues to improve me. I’m really proud of this win.”
Ruud has struggled since losing the US Open final to Alcaraz – even though he was the French Open earlier this year – winning just two of his last six matches.
The 23-year-old took the opening set with a single break in the 10th game, but had no answer when his opponent fought back.
Musetti, who has won two ATP titles this year, broke the service three times in the next two sets to continue his rise with his best performance yet at a Masters event.
Felix Auger-Aliassime extended his winning streak to 15 games as the Canadian ended Gilles Simon’s career with a 6-1, 6-3 success.
The eighth seed is still on track for a fourth straight title and will then face Frances Tiafoe after the American’s 6-3, 7-6 (7/5) win over Alex de Minaur.
Auger-Aliassime and Rublev both qualified for the ATP Finals on Wednesday to complete the eight-man field.
Former world number six Simon had said he would retire after the tournament and the 37-year-old Frenchman retired from the sport after surprise wins over Andy Murray and Taylor Fritz earlier this week.

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