Rafa Withdraws From Paris; Novak Set To Return To No. 1

Nadal and Djokovic defend scheduled exhibition match in Saudi Arabia

Nadal and Djokovic defend scheduled exhibition match in Saudi Arabia

Djokovic will replace Rafael Nadal as the world's top player on Monday and even the 31-year-old admitted being blown away by his latest accomplishment.

Having missed the second half of the 2017 season because of his troublesome elbow, Djokovic returned at the start of this year but the injury flared up again at the Australian Open during a shock defeat by South Korean youngster Chung Hyeon.

Novak Djokovic celebrates winning his third round match after Bosnia and Herzegovina's Damir Dzumhur had to retire due to an injury, November 2, 2018. "I'm obviously not happy to see him [Nadal] being injured and pulling out from the tournament in this final race for top rankings".

Cilic fired 29 winners to advance to the last eight in the French capital for the third straight year.

There was a more stressful passage for Isner, but the American did just enough to edge out Mikhail Kukushkin 6-3 6-7 (2-7) 7-6 (7-1) and keep his hopes of an ATP Finals place alive.

Returning from a right knee injury, Nadal faces Spanish countryman Fernando Verdasco on Wednesday, with 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer also in second-round action against Milos Raonic.

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But Federer, who got through a few hard situations last week on his way to winning the Swiss Indoors for the ninth time, saved both and then held to clinch the first set.

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. If I can do well here in Paris and beat him (Novak Djokovic), all the better. "It's been a hard year for me in terms of injuries, and so I'd prefer to avoid doing anything drastic", he told the media minutes before his intended match against compatriot Fernando Verdasco who instead faced-and lost to-Tunisian lucky loser Malek Jaziri.

Federer will play either Kevin Anderson or Kei Nishikori in Friday's final eight.

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.

"I would love to be in London, of course", said the Spaniard. Elsewhere, German fourth seed Alexander Zverev, playing his 70th match of the season, defeated Frances Tiafoe of the United States 6-4, 6-4 while defending champion Jack Sock put out Richard Gasquet 6-3, 6-3.

Sixth-seeded Dominic Thiem won 6-4, 6-2 against Gilles Simon, beating the Frenchman for the eighth time in 10 meetings.

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