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05 November 2018, 03:46 | Anna Jefferson
Novak Djokovic just beat Roger Federer in one of the best tennis matches you'll see all year
Novak Djokovic said he was proud of his "most unbelievable last five months" despite losing to Karen Khachanov in Sunday's Paris Masters final ahead of his return to world number one.
Federer was seeking to become only the second man after Jimmy Connors to win a century of professional tour titles following his 99th win in Basel, only to fall agonisingly short. 'All of a sudden they do not happen for a while. And when they happen, you party like a rock star. I want to talk about how well he (Khachanov) played all week.
"I'm happy with the way I'm playing". The 22-year-old Russian tennis player praised his opponent after the triumph.
What was most impressive about Khachanov's victory was the manner in which he bullied Djokovic around the court with the depth and booming accuracy of his groundstrokes and his confidence in his ventures to the net.
Novak Djokovic edged an epic semi-final at the Paris Masters as he defeated Roger Federer 7-6 (6) 5-7 7-6 (3).
The 14-time Grand Slam victor will replace long-time rival Rafael Nadal at the top of the rankings on Monday, capping an astonishing revival that began with a fourth Wimbledon title in July.
But world number 18 Khachanov, unbeaten in three previous finals, hit back in the very next game as Djokovic dragged a forehand into the tramlines, down break point.
Novak Djokovic just beat Roger Federer in one of the year's best matches. I won the match, but if he had won it, it would have been absolutely deserved.
The Russian won 76 per cent of points behind his powerful first serve and broke three times, coming from 3-1 down in the first set before going on to win his third title of the season - and a fourth of his career.
The 1.98m Khachanov secured a break for 2-1 with a crunching backhand pass down the line that Djokovic could only net on the half-volley.
Thiem, the French Open finalist, came from behind to win 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 against Jack Sock, who won the title in Paris past year.
"I'm satisfied of course and I'm going to be No. 1 tomorrow".
"Two years isn't a lot in most people's lives, but for me, there's a big difference between 37 and 39".
"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.
"I was thinking, 'OK, (Djokovic) has, I don't know, 70 titles and I have three, '" Khachanov said. "So maybe it was in the back of my mind".
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