Novak Djokovic, who will be crowned world number one on Monday, 5 November, eased into the quarterfinals of the Paris Masters after Damir Dzumhur retired with a back injury, with the Serb up 6-1, 2-1.
Djokovic reclaimed the ATP number one ramking for the first time since 2016 after Rafael Nadal announced his withdrawal from the Paris Masters on Wednesday.
Djokovic has now gone 20 consecutive matches without a loss and equalled a personal record of 29 consecutive completed sets won, as he maintained the utterly sensational spell of form that has seen him rise from No.22 in June to No.1 in the world.
“I’m obviously very proud of the achievement,” said Djokovic. “Five months ago, if you told me that [I would be No.1 now], it was highly improbable at that time considering my ranking and the way I played and felt on the court.”
The 31-year-old will seek to remain on course for a 5th Paris Masters crown when he takes on the dangerous Marin Cilic next. Cilic made progress after knocking out Grigor Dimitrov 7-6, 6-4, earlier.
The victory improved Cilic’s chances of making the ATP Finals in London which begins on November 11.
“I am very close to London, to securing my spot mathematically,” said Cilic, who needs to beat Djokovic to make the cut. “In the next match against Novak it will be another big challenge. [It will be] great to play him again.”
Djokovic, on the other hand, appears to be wary of Cilic’s game. Speaking about playing the beanpole Croat, he said, “He has a big serve and big game from back of the court. It’s just a very powerful style of tennis,” Djokovic said.
“Tough to receive his missiles. You know, first serves are really, really fast, and he uses a lot of rotation and variation with his serve.”
Elsewhere, world No.5, Alexander Zverev made light work of Diego Schwartzman, winning 6-4, 6-2 to also advance to the quarterfinals, and will next face Karen Khachanov, who outlasted John Isner 6-4, 6-7, 7-6 in a gripping third round affair.