Serbia's Novak Djokovic smiles as he arrives to plays against Bosnia and Herzegovina's Damir Dzumhur during their third round match of the Paris Masters tennis tournament at the Bercy Arena in Paris, France, Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

Djokovic reaches Paris Masters quarterfinals; Cilic wins

November 01, 2018 - 1:09 pm

PARIS (AP) — Novak Djokovic advanced to the Paris Masters quarterfinals when Damir Dzumhur retired trailing 6-1, 2-1 on Thursday.

Dzumhur had a lengthy massage on his lower back late in the first set and got loud applause when he carried on playing, but after a few more games, he stopped for good. Djokovic was in total control and did not face a break point, breaking Dzumhur's serve three times.

Djokovic, who will reclaim the No. 1 ranking next week regardless of where he finishes, faces Marin Cilic in the quarterfinals.

"I'm obviously very proud of the achievement," said Djokovic, whose ranking slipped to No. 22 in May as he struggled to shake off a persistent elbow problem. "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."

Although Djokovic leads Cilic 15-3 overall, Cilic won two of their past three matches — including two years ago in the Paris Masters quarterfinals.

"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."

The fifth-seeded Cilic beat ninth-seeded Grigor Dimitrov 7-6 (5), 6-4, needing six set points to win the first set.

Cilic trailed 5-4 during the tiebreaker but won both points on Dimitrov's serve before serving out the first set.

He started the second set by breaking Dimitrov and was largely in charge after that.

Later Thursday, third-seeded Roger Federer was facing Fabio Fognini.

Federer is chasing a 100th career title, and Djokovic is looking to win the Paris Masters for a record-extending fifth time.

Fourth-seeded Alexander Zverev saved all four break points he faced in beating Diego Schwartzman 6-4, 6-2.

Zverev next faces unseeded Karen Khachanov.

Khachanov slid on his back and stretched out his arms in celebration after prevailing against John Isner 6-4, 6-7 (9), 7-6 (8) in a match in which the eighth-seeded Isner had 19 aces but missed two match points.

Khachanov, who won the Kremlin Cup in Moscow last month, did not face a break point in the 2 1/2-hour match.

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