Cilic stuns Djokovic, Murray closes in on World No 1

Stunning comeback from Paire to reach Winston-Salem final

It’s taken 15 attempts, but Marin Cilic has finally bested Novak Djokovic, defeating the top-ranked Serb 6-4, 7-6 (7-2) in the quarter-finals of the Paris Masters on Friday.

The Croatian might have been forgiven for thinking he was never going to get the better of Djokovic, having suffered no less than 14 straight defeats, but it must have made his first victory that much sweeter.

For Djokovic, the loss means his World No 1 ranking is no longer secure – should Andy Murray win his semi-final match on Saturday, he will take over at the top of the world rankings.

Cilic’s gameplan against Djokovic was to be aggressive and move all around the court, and it paid off. He frequently came up to the net, and won 10 of 13 points doing so.

Novak Djokovic

While Djokovic was able to regain the first break he lost early in the opening set, he was powerless to prevent another at 4-5, as Cilic snatched the break and set point to seize the advantage.

Djokovic appeared to be right back in it when he broke for a 5-4 lead in the second set, but Cilic returned the favour as the Serb tried to serve out the set and then got the better of his opponent in the tie-break, claiming three mini-breaks to one to seal victory in one hour and 45 minutes.

Awaiting Cilic in the final is American John Isner, who defeated his countryman Jack Sock 7-6 (8-6), 4-6, 6-4.

As for Murray, he kept his hopes of becoming the new World No 1 alive with a 7-6 (11-9), 7-5 victory over Tomas Berdych.

The first set did not feature a single break point for either player, with Murray only clinching the ensuing tie-break by the narrowest of margins.

Andy Murray

The second set was again very closely contested,  but Murray was able to convert break points in the first and 11th games to extend his ATP Tour winning streak to 18 matches.

Standing between him and the rankings summit is the winner of the match between Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Milos Raonic.