Paris Masters: Novak Djokovic to meet Marin Cilic in quarter-finals

Rafael Nadal during a press conference after withdrawing from the Paris Masters. Reuters

Rafael Nadal during a press conference after withdrawing from the Paris Masters. Reuters

Federer is coming in hot after winning his 99th career title, in Basel last week.

"Reflecting on what I've been through in the a year ago, it's quite a phenomenal achievement. And, of course, I'm very, very happy and proud about it", the Serb told reporters.

Djokovic can regain top spot from Rafael Nadal this week if he betters the Spaniard's performance in the French capital, where the Serb is a four-time victor of the indoor tournament.

The U.S. Open champion won four of the last five tournaments he has entered, including Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and most recently the Shanghai Masters.

Nadal confirmed his withdrawal from the tournament at a press conference ahead of his match against fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco, the World No. 27.

Rafael Nadal pulled out of his second-round match because of an abdominal problem, meaning Novak Djokovic will reclaim the No. 1 ranking next week.

"It's not the end of the season". For Nadal it means delaying his long-awaited comeback from injury which has kept him sidelined since the US Open. The resurgent Djokovic becomes the first player since ATP rankings were introduced in 1973 to climb to number one in a year in which he started outside the top 20.

In fitting symmetry, he lost the slot to Andy Murray at the Paris Masters. Rafa is in the race. The 32-year-old Mallorcan was due to play his first match since retiring injured in the USA Open semi-finals but fans were left disappointed as he was replaced by Malek Jaziri.

Asked on Tuesday if he was also previously invited, Federer said "they contacted me too, yeah".

Seeking a record-equalling 33rd Masters and record-extending fifth Paris title, Djokovic will face a much more challenging test in the last eight against Marin Cilic.

For Nadal, it is the second straight year he has withdrawn from the Paris indoor tournament and he is not sure if he will play at the season-ending ATP Finals in London, starting November 11.

"I am very close to London, to securing my spot mathematically", Cilic said.

Federer turned down an invitation to play in a planned exhibition match in Saudi Arabia in December which his rivals Djokovic and Nadal have committed to play in. [It will be] great to play him again'.

Cilic, who will guarantee making the cut for London if he downs Djokovic, was ending reigning ATP Finals champion Dimitrov's season.

Kei Nishikori had a straightforward 7-5, 6-4 victory over Adrian Mannarino and John Isner served up 33 aces as he beat Mikhail Kukushkin 6-3, 6-7, 7-6. But he regrouped in the nick of time to win the first set 7-5, and after that, he was his usual dominant self.

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