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Djokovic and Tsitsipas reach Paris semis, Alcaraz retires

Tennis: Laver Cup

Sep 24, 2022; London, United Kingdom; Novak Djokovic (SRB) plays a shot against Frances Tiafoe (USA) in a Laver Cup singles match. Mandatory Credit: Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports

Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports

PARIS - Novak Djokovic stayed on course for a record-extending seventh Paris Masters title by dispatching Lorenzo Musetti 6-0, 6-3 in the quarterfinals.

Djokovic, who has titles in Israel and Kazakhstan this season, is chasing a record-extending 39th Masters title.

Musetti caused Djokovic problems in the French Open fourth round last year, leading by two sets before retiring in the fifth.

Not this time, as the sixth-seeded Serb bulldozed the first set in 24 minutes against the unseeded Italian.

They swapped breaks at the start of the second set as Musetti briefly rallied for 2-2.

Serving for the match, Djokovic held to love and clinched victory when Musettei swiped a wild forehand into the net.

Djokovic next faces Stefanos Tsitsipas after the fifth-seeded Greek won 6-2, 6-4 against unseeded American Tommy Paul, who knocked out Rafael Nadal in the second round.

Djokovic leads Tsitsipas 8-2, with the past three of Djokovic’s seven straight wins all coming in finals - including a five-set thriller at last year’s French Open, where Djokovic rallied from two sets down.

Earlier, top-ranked Carlos Alcaraz was stopped by unseeded Holger Rune of Denmark, who reached his first semis at Masters level.

In a match pitting 19-year-old former junior doubles partners, Rune was leading 6-3, 6-6 and 3-1 in the tiebreaker when the U.S. Open champion Alcaraz retired, a few minutes after having treatment on an abdominal muscle at the changeover.

“I thought it was a great match. Unlucky for him,” Rune said. “We both played very well and I was super focused. It was an amazing crowd, amazing tennis, so I’m super pleased with how I handled everything.”

Rune, who won both of his career titles this year, next faces eighth-seeded Felix Auger-Aliassime. He beat No. 16 Frances Tiafoe 6-1, 6-4 to stay on track for a fourth straight title. The Canadian had eight aces and faced no break points.