Karen Khachanov upset a tired-looking Novak Djokovic 7-5, 6-4 to win the Paris Masters title and deprive
Djokovic of the chance on Sunday to match Rafael Nadal’s record of 33 Masters titles.
Djokovic, a record four-time champion at the indoor event, looked out of energy after an epic three-hour semifinal win against Roger Federer on Saturday.
After also being taken to three sets by Marin Cilic in Friday’s quarterfinals, Djokovic’s semifinal finished at around 8 p.m.
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He felt he was unable to recover sufficiently from that draining encounter.
“I didn’t unfortunately. But I don’t want to talk about that,” he said. “I want to talk about how well (Khachanov) played all week and absolutely deserved to win today.”
Asked again whether it was also a case of emotional and mental fatigue, after such an intense tussle with Federer, Djokovic repeated his praise for Khachanov.
“Karen played really well and he deserved to win,” Djokovic said. “All the credit to him.”
Although Djokovic broke in the fourth game to move 3-1 up and then led 30-0 on serve, the unseeded Khachanov broke him straight back and the momentum abruptly shifted away from Djokovic.
“I make a couple of unforced errors and just played a bad game,” Djokovic said. “Unfortunately, I just didn’t have that little extra.”
The Serb seemed agitated at times and twice turned to his box to remonstrate about an unspecified issue during the first set.