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Djokovic defeat opens door for Murray to claim top spot

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Tennis - Paris Masters tennis tournament men's singles quarterfinals - Novak Djokovic of Serbia v Marin Cilic of Croatia - Paris, France - 4/11/2016 - Cilic reacts after defeating Djokovic. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes
Tennis - Paris Masters tennis tournament men's singles quarterfinals - Novak Djokovic of Serbia v Marin Cilic of Croatia - Paris, France - 4/11/2016 - Cilic reacts after defeating Djokovic. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

PARIS (Reuters) - Novak Djokovic crashed out of the Paris Masters in straight sets to Marin Cilic on Friday, opening the door for Andy Murray to snatch the world number one ranking and end the Serb's two-year stranglehold at the top.

Djokovic, who was chasing a fifth title in Paris, was beaten 6-4 7-6 (2), his first defeat to the big-serving Croat in 15 matches.

The defeat means Murray, who faces Tomas Berdych in his quarter-final later on Friday, need only win his next two matches in the French capital to end Djokovic's reign at the summit that stretches back to July 2014.

Djokovic, who needed to reach the final to guarantee keeping Murray at bay, saved two match points at 6-5 in the second set, the latter with a superb forehand cross court, but was soon facing a losing battle in the tiebreak.

Cilic, who clinched his spot in the World Tour Finals on Thursday, raced into a 5-2 lead before a huge serve set up four more match points.

He was soon celebrating after swiping away a mid-court forehand to claim victory in one hour 45 minutes.

(Writing by Toby Davis in London; Editing by Tony Jimenez)


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