Federer, Djokovic breeze through to Paris Masters quarter-finals

Novak Djokovic vs Sampras Roger Federer's former coach draws comparison

Four-time Paris champion Djokovic made the last-eight when Bosnian opponent Damir Dzumhur retired trailing 6-1, 2-1.

"I'm obviously very proud of the achievement, but I haven't been really reflecting on that and focusing on that too much because it's the middle of the week", Djokovic told a news conference.

Thiem breezed past Gilles Simon 6-4 6-2 and the in-form Nishikori also won in straight sets against a home favourite, beating Adrian Mannarino 7-5 6-4.

No. 7 Kevin Anderson, the Wimbledon runner-up; No. 8 John Isner, No. 9 Grigor Dimitrov, No. 10 Kei Nishikori and No. 15 Diego Schwartzman also advanced.

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The fifth seed bounced back from a bruising defeat to Anett Kontaveit on Wednesday, but overcame Mertens 6-2, 7-6 in a tense round-robin tie in Zhuhai, southern China.

Early in the season, the leadership kept the Rafael Nadal, then the Spaniard three times, exchanging positions with Roger Federer, who managed to become the oldest leader of the rating in the history of the ATP tour.

Announcing his withdrawal, Nadal said: "My abdominal muscles haven't felt good for the past few days, especially on service, doctors recommended that I didn't play".

It marked the culmination of a dizzying ascent by the Serb, who had slumped to No 22 in the rankings in mid-June, but subsequently won Grand Slams at Wimbledon and the US Open as well as Masters 1000 titles in Cincinnati and Shanghai. Fernando Verdasco, who reached the quarter-finals a year ago, produced a clinical display to defeat Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 6-4, 6-4.

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For Nadal, it is the second straight year he has withdrawn from the Paris indoor tournament and he is not sure if he will play at the season-ending ATP Finals in London, starting November 11.

"I am very close to London, to securing my spot mathematically", said Cilic, who is part of the Croatia team facing France in the Davis Cup final at the end of this month.

Top seed Nadal cited an abdominal problem as he pulled out of his scheduled second-round match with Fernando Verdasco, meaning he will be succeeded as world number one by Novak Djokovic on Monday. "(It will be) great to play him again".

Nadal's place in the second round was given to Malek Jaziri who lost in the final qualifying round on Sunday.

Anthony Martial does not understand how good he is, says Nemanja Matic
If he does that, Neville said that the French forward could easily boost his goal tally because he is such a strong finisher. And Martial was said to be exploring his options after appearing to fall out with his manager.

Fifth seed Marin Cilic cruised into the third round with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over German veteran Philipp Kohlschreiber.

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