Russia’s Karen Khachanov clinched the biggest win of his career on Sunday with a 7-5, 6-4 upset of Novak Djokovic to claim the Paris Masters title.
Khachanov, 22, became the third different first-time winner of a Masters tournament this year — joining John Isner and Juan Martin del Potro– and deniedDjokovicthe fourth title in a row ahead of his return to world number one on Monday.
“To finish the season like this is really a dream come true,” said Khachanov, who will rise to a career-high of 12th when the latest rankings are published on Monday.
The victory over Djokovic was his fourth top 10 scalp in a week as he snaps the resurgent Serb’s 22-match winning run.
Djokovic, who will reclaim the top ranking from Rafael Nadal for the first time in two years, made a strong start in his pursuit of a record-equalling 33rd Masters title as he broke for a 3-1 lead in the opening set.
But world number 18 Khachanov hit back in the very next game as Djokovic dragged a forehand into the tramlines, down break point.
The unseeded Russian then broke Djokovic for a 6-5 lead, momentarily faltering as he tried to serve out for the set before calmly regrouping to surge ahead.
Djokovic, who overcame old foe Roger Federer in an energy-sapping thriller that lasted over three hours in Saturday’s semi-finals, began to look weary as he dropped serve to fall behind early in the second set.
Khachanov refused to give his opponent the slightest opening and sealed a memorable victory after an hour and 37 minutes when Djokovic hit a forehand long.