Novak Djokovic marks return to world number one with Paris win

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As we already said, Novak is pretty much locked to finish the season as the year-end number 1 player and to dominate the rankings in 2019 as well, winning just six matches in 2018 before Rome and returning to his old form that might be hard to follow for Nadal or Federer.

Djokovic all set to become the first player to be ranked outside the top-20 then climb to No 1 in the same season in 18 years- Marat Safin of Russian Federation was at No 38 on February 28, 2000, climbing No 1 spot on November 20, same year.

Djokovic faces Damir Dzumhur in the third round, the first time they have played each other.

"Roger (Federer) is in the race".

At the U.S. Open in early September, he dropped the opening two sets against Juan Martin del Potro before retiring.

Djokovic, who received a first-round bye, defeated Sousa 7-5 6-1 to advance to the third round and keep his hopes alive of achieving the season-ending world number one spot.

In addition to Nadal, Milos Raonic and Marton Fucsovics withdrew from the last Masters 1000 event of the year on Wednesday, handing respective walkover victories to Roger Federer and Fabio Fognini.

Djokovic established his quarterfinal clash with fifth-seeded Marin Cilic.

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Djokovic also missed last year's event as he dropped outside the top 10 for the first time in over a decade, but the Serb, who was lingering down at a ranking of 22nd as recently as June, arrives having won 27 of his last 28 matches.

Federer will take on Kei Nishikori, who marched past No 7 seed Kevin Anderson 6-4, 6-4. "It wouldn't have been good for me nor anyone to return to the court knowing that I wouldn't be able to play my best".

He said he was trying to play in Paris without pressure and that his major concern was regaining the ATP World Tour title in London later this month.

Federer, who is looking to complete a century of tour titles, said: "I think both of us were far from our best, but we fought with what we had and at the end I think I maybe served a bit better in the important moments than Fabio".

The win improved the Croat's prospects of making the ATP Finals in London starting on November 11.

Fourth-seeded German Alexander Zverev booked his place in the next round with a 6-4 6-4 win over Frances Tiafoe.

Djokovic has won 15 of 17 against Cilic but they have split two meetings this year. World number eight Dominic Thiem boosted his chances of qualifying for the ATP Finals, beating Gilles Simon 6-4, 6-2 and next faces Borna Coric for a quarter-final slot.