In what was the biggest match of his career, Karen Khachanov sensationally rose to the occasion, defying the odds and a formidable Serbian to clinch the biggest title of his career in Paris.
For the first time in 22 matches, Novak Djokovic’s seemingly impenetrable wall was brought down; surprisingly, by 22-year-old Karen Khachanov. Against what was initially conceived, Djokovic’s defence failed to repel the heavy groundstrokes of the Russian.
7-5, 6-4 in an hour and 37 minutes brought Djokovic’s 22-match winning streak to an end. And for Khachanov, it is a first Masters 1000 title, making him the first Russian since Nikolay Davydenko in 2009 to win a Masters title.
“It means the world to me,” said Khachanov, who will rise to No.11 in the world on Monday.
“It’s one of the biggest titles in my career so far. I couldn’t be happier to end the season like this, to win against Novak Djokovic, the number one in the world.”
Djokovic, who has been suffering from flu-like symptoms all week, added: “I don’t feel too good today but I’d like to give respect to Karen for playing a great match today and he deserves to win.
“He deserves his trophy and I am sure we will see a lot of great matches from him in the future.”
Khachanov then paid a glowing tribute to Djokovic, who is set to become No.1 on Monday.
“I would like to congratulate Novak on a great comeback from the beginning of the year. Honestly, you are such an inspiration and truly a champion of the sport. I was honoured to share the court with you today.”