Paris Masters: Djokovic survives; Murray cruises

The record four-time champion will remain top of the rankings if he reaches the final in the French capital, but Djokovic was made to sweat before claiming a 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 victory.

Novak Djokovic Paris Masters

Novak Djokovic suffered early jitters before defeating Grigor Dimitrov to make the quarterfinals of Paris Masters on Thursday.   -  Reuters

Novak Djokovic, fighting to extend his run as world number one, recovered from an early wobble to defeat Grigor Dimitrov in the last 16 of the Paris Masters on Thursday.

The record four-time champion will remain top of the rankings if he reaches the final in the French capital, but Djokovic was made to sweat before claiming a 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 victory.

He fell behind after losing serve twice in succession in an hour-long first set, but the Serb hit back in the second as the errors mounted from Dimitrov.

Djokovic then broke early in the final set to seize command and will next take on ninth seed Marin Cilic for a place in the semifinals.

Andy Murray, chasing the Serb's World No. 1 ranking, beat France's Lucas Pouille 6-3 6-0.

 

London calling Cilic after Paris victory

Marin Cilic sealed his place in the ATP World Tour Finals and ended David Goffin's quest to qualify for the season-ending tournament by beating the Belgian to reach the quarterfinal of the Paris Masters on Thursday.

Cilic secured one of the two remaining places in the lucrative event in London this month with a 6-3 7-6 (11-9) victory in the French capital.

The world number 10 from Croatia moves above Dominic Thiem into eighth spot in the Race to London after the Austrian was beaten by Jack Sock in the second round on Wednesday.

Tomas Berdych can take the eighth and final place at the expense of Thiem if he wins the title this week, while Jo-Wilfried Tsonga must be crowned champion in his homeland to have any chance of qualifying.

Cilic has hit form at the right time, winning the Swiss Indoors Basel title last weekend for his second title of the year and will take on world number one Novak Djokovic or Grigor Dimitrov in the last eight in Paris.

"It's been a huge last 10 days for me," said Cilic, who will play in the season-ending event at the O2 Arena for a second time.

"I played very well today. I had the pressure and David had beaten me the past few times. I want to keep going now and can't wait to return to the O2. It means a lot to qualify again."

AFP adds:

Murray remained firmly in contention to become the new world number one after thrashing Pouille

The Scot won the final eight games against 13th seed Pouille to cruise to victory and extend his winning streak to 17 matches.

He will meet seventh seed Tomas Berdych or Frenchman Gilles Simon next as he bids to end Djokovic's 122-week run at the top of the rankings.

Murray has won three straight tournaments -- in Beijing, Shanghai and Vienna -- to drastically close the gap on Djokovic and must at least reach the final in Paris to stand a chance of displacing the Serb.