Rafael Nadal Withdraws : Paris Masters

2018 Paris Masters Prize Money How much can Roger Federer Nadal earn

Djokovic is set to become world No 1 for the first time in two years after Rafael Nadal withdrew due to an abdominal concern on Wednesday.

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.

Djokovic faces Damir Dzumhur in the third round, the first time they have played each other.

Despite the blow the tournament organizers will be relieved to see Roger Federer making his first appearance at the competition since 2015.

For Djokovic to surpass top-ranked Rafa Nadal when the next edition of the ATP rankings are released on Monday, he must outlast the Spaniard in the French capital this week.

The 37-year-old Swiss had only made a late decision to compete in Bercy after winning his 99th title in his home town Basel on Sunday but, despite a touch of raggedness, was sharp enough on Thursday to outclass the Italian 6-4 6-3 in his opening match.

Given his history of injuries, Nadal listened to advice and did not play his second-round match against Fernando Verdasco on Wednesday.

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Djokovic turned his form around, winning four of the past five tournaments he has entered, including Wimbledon, the US Open and most recently the Shanghai Masters.

"I think both of us were far from our best, but we fought with what we had and at the end I think I maybe served a bit better in the important moments than Fabio did", Federer said. After Paris the ATP tour's eight top-ranked players congregate in London from November 11 for the season's Finals.

Djokovic is to next square off against Croatian Marin Cilic, who defeated Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 in the round-of-16. "So we are looking about how evolves the situation and I hope the things will clarify as soon as possible".

"I am very close to London, to securing my spot mathematically", Cilic said."Against Novak, it will be another big challenge".

Fourth seed Alexander Zverev also cruised into the last eight with a 6-4 6-2 win over Diego Schwartzman.

Kei Nishikori had a straightforward 7-5 6-4 won over Adrian Mannarino in the last 32 at the Paris Masters.

Although Djokovic leads Cilic 15-3 overall, Cilic won two of their past three matches - including two years ago in the Paris Masters quarter-finals.

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