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Tennis

Djokovic battles past Dimitrov as Murray cruises into quarter-finals

Novak Djokovic won the Roland Garros title during his last competitive visit to Paris.
Novak Djokovic won the Roland Garros title during his last competitive visit to Paris. RFI/Pierre René-Worms

World number one Novak Djokovic continued his quest for a fourth successive Paris Masters crown on Thursday with a three set victory over the Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov.

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Djokovic lost the first set but swept past the 14th seed 6-2 6-3 to set up a quarter-final showdown with ninth seed Marin Cilic.

The Croat had a double cause for celebration on Thursday. Not only did he beat the 25-year-old Belgian for the first time in four meetings, he also booked his ticket for the men’s end of season championships in London in 10 days.

"That was the goal of the season for me, to reach the Tour finals in London,” said the 28-year-old. “Obviously the top eight in the world, that's something all the players in the world are wishing for. It's definitely something special, so it's great for me that I achieved it, especially in this kind of way in these last few weeks. I earned it, and that's, for me, even bigger plus.”
 

Second seed Andy Murray has already secured his berth in London and he advanced to the last eight with a 6-3 6-0 rout of the 13th seeded Frenchman Lucas Pouille.
Murray took two hours and 29 minutes to beat Fernadno Verdasco in Tuesday night’s second round. But he was hardly detained by the 23-year-old who had lost their other two encounters during 2016.
 

For a place in the semi-final, the Briton will play Tomas Berdych who disposed of the local hero Gilles Simon in straight sets.
 

There was some cheer for the home crowds though as 11th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga upset the fifth seed Kei Nishikori. Tsonga, the victor at the Bercy arena in 2008, is the sole Frenchman left in the competition following the demise of 12th seed Richard Gasquet.

The 30-year-old lost a pulsating match against the unseeded American Jack Sock in three sets.

 

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