Novak Djokovic sensationally maintained his perfect record against Gael Monfils after surviving three match points in a second-set tie-break to reach the Dubai Tennis Championships final.

World number one Djokovic was 16-0 across all matches in 2020 and in his career against Monfils heading into Friday's meeting.

But the 17-time grand slam winner looked set to see his bid for a fifth Dubai championship end prematurely as Monfils led by a set and a break prior to a dramatic conclusion to the second.

Monfils had collected titles in Montpellier and Rotterdam across his own recent winning streak, yet his Djokovic hoodoo somehow continued.

"It was truly an escape," Djokovic said. "He [Monfils] was clearly a better player for two sets. I was fortunate to work my way back in the second set."

The Frenchman was on top early on and broke in just the third game of the opener, later extending his lead courtesy of the latest in a series of tame Djokovic drop shots.

Djokovic was then spectacularly broken to love in the second, only for Monfils' consistency to wane with the finish line in sight.

The top seed capitalised on the second of his first three break points and set about applying intense pressure to the Monfils serve, but two mammoth holds prompted a remarkable tie-break.

Monfils squandered three opportunities for victory as 10 of the first 11 points went against the serve, Djokovic eventually seizing his fourth set point of the breaker and ninth of the set with a double fault.

Showing visible signs of fatigue, Monfils was broken to love early in the decider and dropped serve again before calling for the trainer, with brief treatment to his left leg unable to arrest the slump as Djokovic clinched a 2-6 7-6 (10-8) 6-1 victory.

Djokovic will next go up against Stefanos Tsitsipas, who cruised through to the Dubai decider for a second year running.

The in-form Greek won the Open 13 Marseille title last week and made it eight straight victories with a comprehensive 6-2 6-3 result against Dan Evans.

Tsitsipas, who lost to Roger Federer in the 2019 final, now believes he can move up another level against Djokovic.

"I'm really impressed by the quality of my game today," he said of the Evans win. "I really hope to bring the same and possibly even better in the next round."

Gael Monfils followed up last week's third Open Sud de France title by defending his Rotterdam Open crown, dealing teenager Felix Auger-Aliassime further ATP Tour final agony.

In-form world number nine Monfils triumphed at the Montpellier championship the previous Sunday and made it nine straight Tour wins with a 6-2 6-4 success this time.

Canada's Auger-Aliassime, on the other hand, is still waiting for his first senior career title and was never really in the contest as Monfils ended the week without dropping a set.

Playing his fourth Tour final after a trio of 2019 defeats, the 19-year-old made a nervous start and was required to rescue three break points in just the third game after some wayward initial work with the forehand.

Auger-Aliassime merely delayed the setback until his next service game, though, Monfils coming out on top for a 3-2 lead as the pair did battle at the net.

Following a brief Monfils scare, Auger-Aliassime went long when defending a third break opportunity next time out and slipped further behind, allowing the third seed to serve out the opener.

There was no improvement from the Canadian when the match resumed, the second set beginning with a series of errors and a crushing break to love.

Monfils stylishly got the better of an apparently defeated Auger-Aliassime at the net to tee up another three openings, taking the last of them.

The Frenchman stuttered badly when serving for the championship and lost one of his breaks as Auger-Aliassime belatedly rallied, but the victory was eventually sealed.

Felix Auger-Aliassime will meet in-form defending champion Gael Monfils in the Rotterdam Open final after both players won their last-four encounters in straight sets.

Canadian teenager Auger-Aliassime will be seeking his first ATP Tour title after losing all three of his showpiece matches in his breakout campaign last year.

He sealed his place in the final with a 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 victory over Pablo Carreno Busta in a contest lasting one hour and 49 minutes on Saturday.

Unseeded Auger-Aliassime sent down 16 aces, one of which came on match point, and lost only three of his 48 points on first serve, saving all of the four break points he faced in an impressive outing.

"I was serving the best I've ever served in that first set and then played a solid tie-break," he said after reaching his first final on a hard court.

"In the second set, things got interesting with that long third game [when Auger-Aliassime broke]. I was thinking, 'If this goes my way, it might be tough for him'. So, I really pushed to get through."

Monfils is eyeing back-to-back triumphs, having come into this tournament after winning the Open Sud de France on home soil last week.

He defeated Filip Krajinovic in the semi-finals there and repeated the trick against the Serbian this time, winning 6-4 7-6 (7-5) in a display that saw him hit 35 winners.

"It would be great [to win this title again]," said the Frenchman, who like Auger-Aliassime sealed his victory with an ace.

"It would be unbelievable. It would be the first time to win two titles in a row and actually even the first time to win two titles in the same season, so it would be huge for me."

Monfils, who only gave up one break point against Krajinovic, has never played Auger-Aliassime before.

"Felix is a great guy, a humble guy," said Monfils.

"He is very strong, very talented guy. Definitely, I expect a tough match, but a cool match because I think we might see him for a long time in this stage of tournaments."

Defending champion Gael Monfils continued his hot-streak with a convincing 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 victory over Dan Evans in the Rotterdam Open quarter-finals.

The Frenchman, winner of the Open sud de France last week, made it seven wins in a row by overcoming Evans in one hour and 52 minutes.

Next up in the last four is Filip Krajinovic, who upset the form book to overcome Andrey Rublev 7-6 (7-2) 6-4. 

Felix Auger-Aliassime defeated Aljaz Bedene and will face Pablo Carreno Busta, who needed three sets to see off Jannik Sinner, in the other semi-final.

Stefanos Tsitsipas became the latest seed to crash out of the Rotterdam Open as Jannik Sinner claimed his first top-10 win on Thursday.

After top seed Daniil Medvedev departed the competition a day earlier, Tsitsipas and David Goffin - seeded second and fourth respectively - each suffered upsets to blow the bottom half of the draw wide open.

Slovenia's Aljaz Bedene recorded the biggest win of his career as he cut down Tsitsipas in straight sets, his second triumph over a top-10 player clinched by a 7-5 6-4 scoreline.

"I tried to stay focused, and I delivered," Bedene said shortly after a stunning winner down the line saw him successfully serve out for the match.

"I actually served really well when it was important and kept my cool really, because I was feeling that he [Tsitsipas] was pressuring sometimes.

"I had to stay focused and cool and play my shots, and I delivered. I'm happy with that."

The world number 52 saved five break points in the opener before claiming his first opportunity, and he conceded: "I think he [Tsitsipas] was probably the better player for most of the first set.

"He was serving really well, and I didn't play my game - especially on his service points. I stayed tough, which I had to do, otherwise it would go the other way. I guess the break gave me a boost of confidence."

Bedene will play Felix Auger-Aliassime in the quarter-finals, with the winner potentially meeting NextGen champion Sinner - matched with Pablo Carreno Busta - in the last four.

Sinner, still just 18, came up with 27 winners to see off 10th-ranked Goffin 7-6 (9-7) 7-5.

"I feel great, especially now in this moment," the Italian said, according to quotes on the ATP Tour website. "It was not easy playing against him. He is very solid, so you sometimes go for a winner or change the rhythm.

"It feels like a normal victory, but sometimes you play better than others. It's all about improving and testing where you are."

Reigning champion Gael Monfils prolonged his title defence, beating countryman Gilles Simon 6-4 6-1.

Seventh seed Andrey Rublev also advanced, while Vasek Pospisil could not build on his shock defeat of Medvedev, going down 6-4 7-6 (9-7) to Filip Krajinovic.

Top seed Daniil Medvedev exited the Rotterdam Open with a first-round defeat to Vasek Pospisil that headlined a day of shocks.

Medvedev – the 2019 US Open finalist – was playing his first match since a five-set defeat to Stan Wawrinka at the Australian Open but was unable to find the same level he produced in that thriller.

Instead, Medvedev converted just one of his six break point opportunities as Pospisil claimed a 6-4 6-3 victory on Wednesday.

Sixth seed Roberto Bautista Agut was also on the receiving end of a surprise result, compatriot Pablo Carreno Busta winning 6-4 2-6 7-6 (7-4) in the second round.

With Medvedev and Bautista Agut out of the draw, Felix Auger-Aliassime can afford to harbour greater hope of winning his first ATP singles title after he saw off Grigor Dimitrov 6-4 6-2.

Though Auger-Aliassime is a place higher in the rankings than Dimitrov at 21st in the world, some may have expected the Bulgarian's greater experience to win out.

However, it was the 19-year-old Canadian who controlled matters, enjoying great success against the second serve of Dimitrov, who committed 27 unforced errors as Auger-Aliassime progressed to the quarter-finals.

Daniel Evans will join him in the last eight after the Briton defied the odds to come from a set down and defeat Karen Khachanov 4-6 6-3 6-4.

Gael Monfils, David Goffin and Gilles Simon all sealed first-round wins, though the latter pair did so in unconvincing fashion.

While third seed Monfils eased past Joao Sousa 6-3 6-2, fourth seed Goffin had to come from behind to knock out Robin Haase 3-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 and Simon survived a second-set blip in a 7-6 (7-3) 3-6 6-3 win over Mikhail Kukushkin.

Jannik Sinner is also through to round two, the 18-year-old given a walkover after Radu Albot withdrew with a shoulder injury.

Gael Monfils became the Open Sud de France champion for the third time on Sunday after defeating Vasek Pospisil.

The 33-year-old, who triumphed in Montpellier in 2010 and 2014, won 7-5 6-3 to become the eighth French champion in the 10 editions of the tournament since it was relocated from Lyon.

Pospisil, who battled past second seed David Goffin to reach only his second ATP Tour final, failed to make the most of four break points against the Monfils serve in an hour and 37 minutes.

At the Pune Open, Jiri Vesely ended a five-year wait to lift a Tour title after overcoming Egor Gerasimov.

Vesely saved match points in his quarter-final and semi-final to book a showdown with Gerasimov, which he won 7-6 (7-2) 5-7 6-3.

"I have to be realistic. I had a lot of luck in the week, saving six match points [across] two matches in a row," he said.

"I think that happens once in a lifetime, maybe, you never know…

"Two matches in a row, especially in the quarter-finals and semi-finals, is really big."

Vesely is the eighth player since 2013 to save match points in two matches en route to winning a Tour event.

Gael Monfils will face Vasek Pospisil in the final of the Open Sud de France after the home favourite clinched a straight-sets win over Filip Krajinovic.

Seeking his third title at the event, world number nine Monfils triumphed 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 in 82 minutes against the Serbian.

Monfils saved all three break points against Krajinovic in an impressive victory that maintains France's perfect record of ensuring a home player reaches the final of the Montpellier tournament.

The 2010 and 2014 champion will meet Pospisil on Sunday after the Canadian defeated David Goffin in three sets.

Goffin served for the match in the decider but lost three decisive games in a row as Pospisil triumphed 6-3 1-6 7-5 in two hours and 21 minutes.

At the Pune Open, Australia's James Duckworth was beaten 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 by Egor Gerasimov in the semi-finals.

The Belarusian dropped only five points behind his first serve as he reached a maiden ATP Tour final, where he will face Jiri Vesely.

Vesely saved match points for the second round in a row, outlasting second seed Ricardas Berankis 6-7 (8-10) 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (9-7) in a draining encounter to secure a first final in nearly five years.

Top seed Gael Monfils is the only home hope still standing at the Open Sud de France after beating Norbert Gombos in straight sets to reach the semi-finals.

The world number nine downed Slovakian Gombos 6-3 6-4 in Montpellier on Friday to stay in contention to win the tournament for a third time.

Filip Krajinovic stands in the way of Monfils and a place in the final after the seventh seed accounted for Gregoire Barrere 6-2 7-5.

Vasek Pospisil moved into the last four when Richard Gasquet retired at 6-1 1-0 down in his homeland due to an abdominal injury.

David Goffin will take on the Canadian after the second seed saw off Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-4 7-6 (7-5).

James Duckworth reached his maiden ATP Tour semi-final with a 6-3 7-6 (7-4) defeat of qualifier Roberto Marcora at the Pune Open.

The 96-ranked Australia will come up against Egor Gerasimov, who came from a set down to beat Kwon Soon-woo 4-6 7-6 (7-1) 6-4.

Jiri Vesely and Ricardas Berankis will contest the other semi-final after getting past Ilya Ivashka and Yuichi Sugita respectively.

Novak Djokovic continued his dominance of Milos Raonic at the Australian Open on Tuesday.

Raonic became the fourth player to suffer 10 losses to Djokovic without once beating the Serbian star after his defeat on Rod Laver Arena.

The Canadian joined Gael Monfils, Jeremy Chardy and Andreas Seppi on Djokovic's list of opponents he has well and truly dominated on the ATP Tour.

We take a look at the four's less-than-fantastic record.

 

GAEL MONFILS (0-16)

The exciting Frenchman has a game to beat most players, but clearly not Djokovic. Monfils has had his chance on every surface and fallen on every occasion. He did beat Djokovic when they met at a futures tournament in Italy in 2004 but, at ATP and grand slam level, it has been one-sided. Monfils has had his moments, with only eight of the 16 ending in straight sets, but he has never been able to get over the line, beginning at the 2005 US Open and more recently at this year's ATP Cup.

JEREMY CHARDY (0-13)

Another Frenchman, Chardy has been in an entirely one-sided match-up since 2009. Incredibly, all 13 of Djokovic's wins have come in straight sets, even when Chardy has been ranked as high as 25 at Wimbledon in 2013. Djokovic has been ranked in the top four in 12 of these matches and never had any problems against Chardy, who reached the Australian Open quarter-finals in 2013.

ANDREAS SEPPI (0-12)

Seppi has come close to upsetting Djokovic previously, but this is just another match-up that suits the 16-time grand slam champion. The Italian journeyman likes to sit behind the baseline, a position on the court from which few can match it with Djokovic. Since their first meeting in 2006, Djokovic has won nine of their 12 matches in straight sets and survived a gigantic scare in another. That came at the 2012 French Open, when Seppi won the first two sets before falling to the eventual runner-up.

MILOS RAONIC (0-10)

Raonic's biggest strength – his serve – may be a huge advantage in most matches, but rarely when he is taking on arguably the best returner in the sport's history. That has proven to be the case, although four of his 10 losses to Djokovic have come on clay. Since 2013, Raonic has lost eight of the meetings in straight sets, while eight of the 26 sets between them have gone to tie-breaks, seven of those won by Djokovic. Unlike some of the others on this list, the 29-year-old Canadian may get a chance to end the unwanted record.

Nick Kyrgios emerged triumphant in a dramatic five-set clash with Karen Khachanov despite struggling with a hamstring injury, booking a highly anticipated meeting with Rafael Nadal in the fourth round of the Australian Open.

After passing up match points in the third and fourth sets, home favourite Kyrgios came out on top in the longest match of his career by beating Khachanov 6-2 7-6 (7-5) 6-7 (6-8) 6-7 (7-9) 7-6 (10-8) at a raucous Melbourne Arena in four hours, 26 minutes.

Top seed Nadal beat fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta 6-1 6-2 6-4 in one hour, 38 minutes on Rod Laver Arena, while US Open runner-up Daniil Medvedev overcame Alexei Popyrin 6-4 6-3 6-2 and will face Stan Wawrinka in the last 16.

The Swiss advanced after John Isner retired while 6-4 4-1 down, with Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev and Gael Monfils joining him in round round four.

 

CROCKED KYRGIOS CLINGS ON

Kyrgios started confidently against Khachanov and, despite taking a medical time-out at 5-2 up in the first set, managed to edge a second-set tie-break while continuing to grip at the back of his leg.

However, he was unable to repeat the trick at the second time of asking and became increasingly frustrated as the Russian wrested control of the match away from him.

Kyrgios appeared to be struggling for motivation at points and became increasingly vocal, but he hung in to take the victory to the delight of his fervent supporters.

The Australian has a strained relationship with Nadal, who he described as "salty" after their meeting at last year's Mexican Open and impersonated after being called for a time violation while serving against Gilles Simon in round two.

Asked about going up against the 19-time major champion in his on-court interview, Kyrgios said: "Whatever happened between us he's an amazing player. I'm not even thinking about that right now, I'm thinking about my legs and getting them in an ice bath and getting some food."

 

NO STOPPING NADAL

Nadal was at his imperious best against Carreno Busta, winning 87 per cent and 78 per cent of points behind his first and second serve respectively, while also smashing 41 winners – twice as many as his opponent.

"It was my best match of the tournament so far, without a doubt. Big difference between today and the previous days. I have been serving well, starting to create damage with the forehand," said Nadal.

"Every day is a different story. But, of course, it's important to make steps forward. It's clear that today I made an important one."

Asked if he likes Kyrgios, Nadal said: "I don't know. I don't know him personally, honestly, to have a clear opinion."

 

RUBLEV ROLLS ON

Rublev started 2020 with titles at the Qatar Open and Brisbane International and has continued his fine form at Melbourne Park.

The world number 16's 2-6 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 7-6 (7-4) triumph over David Goffin was his 15th match win in succession, four of which came in the Davis Cup Finals.

Rublev had wobbles after taking big leads in both tie-breaks, but Goffin made 27 unforced errors in the last two sets to help the Russian progress to a meeting with Zverev.

Seventh seed Zverev is yet to drop a set at Melbourne Park after overcoming Fernando Verdasco 6-2 6-2 6-4.

 

"IT'S A DISGRACE"

After beating qualifier Ernests Gulbis 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 6-3 to set up a fourth-round meeting with Dominic Thiem – who overcame 29th seed Taylor Fritz 6-2 6-4 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 – Monfils refuted a report claiming excessively playing video games led to him suffering a hand injury.

"You know, as I say, it's misunderstanding with people. I say this in a funny way, to be honest, but it's a disgrace, to be honest with you, because I'm fine," Monfils told reporters in a news conference.

"I'm in the second week, playing great tennis. I think it's just someone who, I don't know, try to — you know, I played ATP Cup, was fine. I practiced here for one month. I was really fine.

"I never said I was hurt. Somehow, you know, playing PlayStation, this? Come on. And it's easy, because I think I'm a good name to make up good story like that. Now you know."

Gael Monfils refuted a report claiming too much PlayStation was behind a hand injury after the French 10th seed progressed at the Australian Open.  

Monfils showed no sign of injury as he moved through to the fourth round at Melbourne Park thanks to Saturday's 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 6-3 victory over qualifier Ernests Gulbis.

Afterwards, Monfils was asked about his hand and fitness following a report citing video games, and the 33-year-old entertainer took aim at the media.

"You know, as I say, it's misunderstanding with people. I say this in a funny way, to be honest, but it's a disgrace, to be honest with you, because I'm fine," Monfils told reporters in a news conference.

"I'm in the second week, playing great tennis. I think it's just someone who, I don't know, try to — you know, I played ATP Cup, was fine. I practiced here for one month. I was really fine.

"I never said I was hurt. Somehow, you know, playing PlayStation, this? Come on. And it's easy, because I think I'm a good name to make up good story like that. Now you know."

Monfils will face fifth seed Dominic Thiem for a place in the Australian Open quarter-finals for the second time in his career.

Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev booked their spots in the Australian Open third round, while Alexander Zverev and Stan Wawrinka also progressed.

Nadal remained on track in his bid to win a 20th grand slam title despite wasting chances against Federico Delbonis in Melbourne on Thursday.

The seeds have been relatively untroubled in the opening rounds in Australia, and they are on a collision course heading into the end of the first week and into the second.

Medvedev, Zverev and Wawrinka were also among the winners in the top half of the draw.

 

NADAL BATTLES INTO ALL-SPANISH THIRD-ROUND CLASH

Nadal converted just three of 20 break points to overcome Delbonis 6-3 7-6 (7-4) 6-1.

The Spanish star was wasteful before winning in two hours, 30 minutes, while he apologetically kissed a ball girl after striking her with a wayward forehand late in the victory.

Awaiting Nadal is Pablo Carreno Busta, the 27th seed having got past German qualifier Peter Gojowczyk 6-4 6-1 1-6 6-4.

Nadal has won his previous four meetings with Carreno Busta.

 

MEDVEDEV, ZVEREV AND WAWRINKA ADVANCE

Runner-up to Nadal at last year's US Open, fourth seed Medvedev was too strong for Spain's Pedro Martinez as he won 7-5 6-1 6-3.

Another member of the 'Next Gen', Zverev got the job done against Egor Gerasimov, winning 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 7-5.

Zverev will meet Fernando Verdasco after the Spanish veteran upset 26th seed Nikoloz Basilashvili in four sets.

Wawrinka, the 2014 champion, was pushed hard by Andreas Seppi, but the Swiss made it 10 wins in 14 meetings with the Italian veteran, securing a 4-6 7-5 6-3 3-6 6-4 victory.

John Isner awaits Wawrinka after the American served 32 aces in a 6-4 6-3 6-3 win against Chilean qualifier Alejandro Tabilo.

Dominic Thiem (fifth seed) and David Goffin (11th) were pushed to five sets before overcoming Alex Bolt and Pierre-Hugues Herbert respectively.

 

KYRGIOS, KHACHANOV SET UP CINCINNATI REMATCH

Nick Kyrgios and Karen Khachanov were both tested before setting up a third-round clash.

Kyrgios got past Gilles Simon 6-2 6-4 4-6 7-5, while Khachanov needed four hours, 34 minutes to edge Mikael Ymer 6-2 2-6 6-4 3-6 7-6 (10-8).

Khachanov won his previous meeting with Kyrgios in Cincinnati last year, but it was a clash best remembered for the Australian's outburst at umpire Fergus Murphy that resulted in a 16-week suspended ban and fine.

Gael Monfils, Andrey Rublev and Taylor Fritz were among the other seeds to win through on Thursday.

Rafael Nadal battled past fan favourite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to take his place in the semi-finals of the Paris Masters.

Tsonga had displayed fine form in Paris heading into Friday's encounter, but Nadal, who is still yet to win the ATP 1000 event, had too much quality after making the breakthrough in a hard-fought first set.

While Nadal laboured at times, Novak Djokovic, who will relinquish his number one status to the Spaniard next week, had no such issues as he confidently dispatched Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Meanwhile, Matteo Berrettini – who was sent out by Tsonga in the last 32 – clinched the last remaining ATP Finals spot thanks to Denis Shapovalov's straight sets victory over Gael Monfils.

NADAL DIGS DEEP

Nadal twice had to serve to stay in the first set, but having forced the tie-break, a wonderful backhand pass paved the way for him to forge ahead.

With the serve dominating throughout set one, it was Tsonga who blinked first in the second – Nadal taking full advantage of two sloppy shots to secure a first break of the match.

Soon-to-be world number one Nadal had finally hit his stride, playing a sublime through-the-legs shot to further drain Tsonga's confidence.

Despite showing resilience to hold, Tsonga was soon a double-break down, with Nadal wrapping up a 7-6 (7-4) 6-1 win when his opponent sent a desperate backhand return into the net.

 

DOMINANT DJOKOVIC HITS TOP GEAR

After struggling with illness in his opening matches, Djokovic was at his irresistible, untouchable best against Tsitsipas, who had no response to lose inside an hour.

A double break early in set one set the tone for Djokovic, who had the opener tied up in his favour inside 29 minutes.

Djokovic took just a minute longer to finish off set two, two more breaks ending any slim hopes of a Tsitsipas comeback before an overhit return from the Greek sealed his progression by an emphatic 6-1 6-2 scoreline.

 

BERRETTINI COMPLETES LONDON FIELD

With defending ATP Finals champion Alexander Zverev having claimed his spot at the O2 earlier in the week, there was one place up for grabs heading into Friday's play.

The permutations were simple, with Monfils – ranked 10th in the Race for London – needing a win to take the place of Berrettini.

However, the French number one came unstuck in some style against Shapovalov, who cruised to a 6-2 6-2 triumph, and Berrettini now completes the top eight, alongside Djokovic, Nadal, Roger Federer, Daniil Medvedev, Dominic Thiem, Tsitsipas and Zverev.

 

DIMITROV SWAPS HALLOWEEN TRICKS FOR SEMI-FINAL TREAT

Having already knocked out Thiem, Dimitrov claimed his spot in the last four with a 6-2 7-5 triumph over Cristian Garin, ending an 18-month wait to make a semi-final at ATP 1000 level.

The Bulgarian may have had to give up his Halloween celebrations, but it was a small price to pay.

"[A fantastic week] so far, I've skipped Halloween but it's a better place to be, here on centre court," Dimitrov told Tennis TV.

Halloween may have passed, yet the world number 27 now faces the scary prospect of going up against Djokovic for a place in the final.

Novak Djokovic may have sounded croaky but the four-time Paris Masters champion stayed in the hunt for another triumph in the French capital.

A 7-6 (9-7) 6-1 victory over Great Britain's Kyle Edmund carried the Serbian through to a tough-looking quarter-final against Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Greek youngster Tsitsipas was a 6-3 6-4 winner against Australian Alex de Minaur, while Rafael Nadal dug deep for a gritty 6-4 6-4 win over Stan Wawrinka.

Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev were significant casualties, as the fifth and sixth seeds suffered respective defeats to Grigor Dimitrov and Denis Shapovalov.

And there was plenty of French joy, as Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gael Monfils thrilled the home crowds with dramatic three-set victories.

Djokovic eyes revenge

Djokovic lost to Tsitsipas in the quarter-finals of the Shanghai Masters in October but will fancy his chances of avenging that loss on Friday.

Despite his voice sounding far from healthy, Djokovic is feeling better after battling illness this week, and he is positive about the state of his game.

"The second set was the best set I've played so far in the tournament," Djokovic said, according to the ATP website. "Finished off with a winner, finished off with amazing return game. So, of course, the sensation is very positive. And I'm convinced that I'm headed in the right direction so that tomorrow will be even better."

The 32-year-old hopes to end the year at number one in the world rankings for the sixth time, even though Nadal is certain to be in pole position heading into the ATP Finals in London.

 

Tsonga next for Nadal

Nadal was not at his best against Wawrinka, yet he still extended his dominance over the Swiss three-time grand slam winner with a 19th win in their 22nd meeting.

He took two of the three break points he engineered to stay in the hunt for a first Paris Masters title. Given his immense success elsewhere - his 35 Masters 1000 titles is a record and he has landed 12 French Open titles - Nadal's limited success in Paris is a shortcoming he will be eager to address.

He should have enough for Tsonga on Friday, but the veteran Frenchman has come out punching this week and is beginning to look like the player who was a top-10 fixture for so long.

Tsonga landed a 2-6 6-4 7-6 (8-6) victory over Germany's Jan-Lennard Struff and said: "When you play the best, it's always beneficial and it's not important whether you win or lose.

"When you play Rafa in the first round, it's a problem. If you play Rafa in the quarter-finals, it's normal. Of course, it's better for me to meet Rafa in quarter-finals after having played a few matches rather than during the first round."

Monfils keeps ATP Finals hopes alive

There is one place to fill at the season-ending ATP Finals, and Monfils is desperate to sustain his run this week to stay in contention.

After a 4-6 6-4 6-1 win against Romanian Radu Albot, the 33-year-old Parisian is on the brink but still not quite there and must see off Shapovalov to earn his ticket to London ahead of Matteo Berrettini.

Given Shapovalov's 6-2 5-7 6-2 win against Alexander Zverev, that could be a tall order for Monfils, whose French compatriot Jeremy Chardy could not boost the home contingent in the final eight, going down 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 7-6 (8-6) in a nail-biting thriller against Chilean Cristian Garin.

Despite the defeat, Zverev is certain to be involved in the English capital after sealing his spot on Wednesday.

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