Khachanov stuns Djokovic in Paris final, deprives him of record-matching win

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       Novak Djokovic overcame a formidable examination from Marin Cilic

0:50 Novak Djokovic overcame a formidable examination from Marin Cilic

It was the first time in their 12 years of battling that Djokovic had won four matches in succession against Federer, equalling the run that the Swiss himself had once achieved at the dawn of their rivalry. "I couldn't be happier to finish the season like this".

Djokovic's fourth straight win over Federer and 25th in 47 contests sends him into the final against unseeded Russian Karen Khachanov, who has never played in a Masters final.

Earning his fourth straight win over a top-10 player this week, Khachanov, whose muscular game resembles that of his childhood hero Marat Safin, a Russian three-times victor in Paris, picked up the biggest title of his burgeoning career.

Constantly keeping the master of defence on the back foot, he converted a decisive break point at 5-5 with an irretrievable backhand at full stretch before taking the set in 57 minutes.

Roger Federer of Switzerland (right) and Novak Djokovic of Serbia pose prior to their semifinal match of the Paris Masters tennis tournament at the Bercy Arena in Paris, France on November 3, 2018. Even though the latter's serve was not broken once, it was still not enough for the 37-year-old, whose nerve failed him in an anti-climactic final tie-break in which he served a double fault and made two careless groundstroke errors.

Yet Djokovic did not sound too dismayed, saying he hoped to be physically 100 percent for the ATP Tour finals which start in London next Sunday.

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Asked about the great player that he will meet in the final, he smiled and said: "I'm going to watch (Federer-Djokovic) definitely and any scenario is good for me". "I want to talk about how well [Khachanov] played all week and absolutely deserved to win today".

Coming into the week, Khachanov had a 3-16 record against players ranked in the world Top 10.

Then, with Djokovic clearly breathing harder, he earned the decisive break to go 2-1 up in the second set after the Serbian pushed a weary-looking backhand into the net.

Djokovic is on a 22-match winning streak and will aim to move level with Rafael Nadal on a record 33 Masters titles.

Brimming with confidence in a season which has seen him go from No. 22 in the rankings in May to No. 1 when they are released on Monday, and in which he has added the Wimbledon and U.S. Open to his Grand Slam haul, Djokovic created pressure throughout.

Khachanov is the first Russian to win a Masters title since Nikolay Davydenko in 2009. "I mean, I won 20-plus matches in a row and had a most unbelievable last five months", he said.

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