World no. 1 Novak Djokovic is through to the Paris Masters quarter-final. The world's best player battled past Tallon Griekpsoor 4-6, 7-6, 6-4 in two hours and 39 minutes, securing his 396th Masters 1000 victory and entering the last eight.
Unlike in the second round, Novak did not look good on the court in the opening two sets, struggling to find the rhythm and asking for a medical timeout. The Serb prevailed in the second set's closing stages and broke the Dutchman in the middle of the decider to emerge at the top.
Djokovic led 4-1 in the opening set before losing ground, dropping five straight games and the opener. Novak did not lose serve in sets two and three, keeping the pressure on Tallon and crossing the finish line first. Djokovic saved six out of nine break points and stole the rival's serve three times from seven chances.
There was nothing to separate them in the shortest and more advanced rallies, staying neck and neck from start to finish.
Novak Djokovic took down Tallon Griekspoor in three sets in Paris.
Griekspoor netted a routine forehand in the encounter's second game, falling behind and allowing Djokovic to forge a 4-1 advantage with three reliable holds.
Instead of bringing the seventh game home from 40-15 and staying in front, Novak lost four straight points and got broken after Tallon's running forehand down the line winner at the net. The Dutchman held at love for 4-4 and pushed strong on the return in the next one.
Griekspoor seized the fourth break point after Djokovic's wayward backhand, opening a 5-4 lead and serving for the set. Tallon held at love with a forehand down the line winner, rattling off five games and closing the opener in 46 minutes.
Both players had a chance to earn a break at the start of the second set, wasting all three opportunities. They produced six comfortable holds and locked the result at 4-4. Djokovic felt the pressure and offered Griekspoor two break points in game nine.
Facing defeat, Novak erased them with winners and produced a vital hold that kept him alive. They served well in the last three games, introducing a tie break. Djokovic clinched two mini-breaks and landed a service winner for 5-0.
The Serb claimed the breaker 7-2 with an unreturned serve, forcing a decider after an hour and 44 minutes. After four good holds, Tallon netted a forehand at 2-2 to lose serve and push Novak in front. Djokovic held at 30 for 4-2 and earned another break point in game seven.
Griekspoor saved it and held, remaining within one break deficit. Novak squandered a game point at 4-3 and hit a double fault on a break point to lose serve, ironically applauding the crowd. The more experienced player stayed composed, securing a break at love in game nine and serving for the triumph at 5-4. Djokovic held at love with a service winner to move into the last eight.
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