Djokovic downs Edmund in Paris for 50th win of the season
LONDON – World number one Novak Djokovic claimed his 50th win of the season as he progressed to the quarter-finals of the Paris Masters on Thursday with a 7-6 (9-7), 6-1 win over Britain's Kyle Edmund.
The 16-time grand slam winner is hoping to keep his top ranking in the French capital and needs to outlast number two Rafael Nadal, who is only 320 points behind him.
Nadal also advanced to the last eight after he surpassed Switzerland's Stan Wawrinka 6-4, 6-4.
He will face Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the next round following the Frenchman's epic battle with German Jan Lennard-Struff, where he prevailed in a 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (8-6) victory.
Germany's Alexander Zverev is out following a 6-2, 5-7, 6-2 loss to Canadian Denis Shapovalov, but will return for one more tournament when he defends his ATP Finals crown in London on November 10.
The 22-year-old had struggled to secure one of the eight places going into Paris with only two spots left.
However, because Roberto Bautista-Agut and Matteo Berretini lost early in France, that meant nobody could take away Zverev's place.
Shapovalov will play either Moldova's Radu Albot or Frenchman Gael Monfils, who could steal the eighth ATP Finals berth from Berrettini with a good run into the weekend.
On Wednesday, Djokovic had complained about feeling ill during his previous success against local player Corentin Moutet.
"I was feeling energy-wise better and felt more alert, just more strength, more energy, more speed," said Djokovic.
"I didn't play so well, I think, from baseline in the first set. I served well. That got me to the tie-break."
He missed two opportunities to close out the first set at 6-5, but the 32-year-old Serb created a 4-1 gap in the tie-break before finishing the frame with a forehand winner.
Edmund, who is ranked 75th in the world, faltered on his serve in the second set and Djokovic remained superior in the rallies as he earned three breaks to complete the match with a punched backhand after 1 hour 21 minutes.
Djokovic will play Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas on Friday after the world number seven claimed a 6-3, 7-5 victory over Australian Alex de Minaur.
"Obviously he's one of the best players in the world," added Djokovic, who was beaten by Tsitsipas in the quarter-finals of the Shanghai Masters
Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov is also through to the last eight with an overpowering 6-3, 6-2 triumph against Austria's Dominic Thiem.
Dimitrov will go up against Chilean Cristian Garin, who battled back from a set down to defeat Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 6-7 (4-7), 6-4, 7-6 (8-6).dpa