World No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz defeated Grigor Dimitrov in straight sets on Thursday, while Novak Djokovic continued his Paris Masters title defense, also reaching the quarter-finals.
Spanish teenager Alcaraz, hoping to win a third Masters title of the year after previous successes in Miami and Madrid, took former world number three Dimitrov 6-1, 6-3 in 72 minutes.
Alcaraz will be confirmed as world number one for the year ahead of the ATP final in Turin later this month if he lifts the trophy this weekend in the French capital.
“It wasn’t his day, he didn’t play at his best, but I played my game,” said the 19-year-old US Open champion.
Alcaraz will play Holger Rune for a final fourth place after the Dane knocked out seventh place Andrey Rublev 6-4, 7-5.
The top seed got off to a quick start at Bercy Arena, winning nine of the first 10 games to take full control of the match.
Dimitrov managed to bounce back in the second set, but Alcaraz broke down again in the eighth installment and ended the victory comfortably.
He scored 16 winners and only allowed six unforced errors in a dominant display, while Dimitrov saw 24 unforced errors fly off his racket.
Djokovic, aiming for a record seventh Bercy title this week, thrashed Russia’s Karen Khachanov 6-4, 6-1.
The 21-time Grand Slam champion, already the holder of a record 38 Masters crowns, will play Lorenzo Musetti to advance to the semi-finals.
Djokovic extended his individual tournament winning streak to 18 matches, starting with his French Open quarter-final loss to Rafael Nadal in May.
The Wimbledon champion won 10 of 11 meetings with Khachanov – the only defeat came in the 2018 Paris Masters final.
He won a tight opening set but was able to take the win in the second after playing five games in a row.
– Musetti knocks out Ruud –
“Khachanov is someone I know very well,” Djokovic said. “We practice a lot and have played almost 10 times against each other on different surfaces. He beat me in the final four years ago, so I know he likes this surface, he likes these conditions.”
Italian youth Musetti lost to third-placed Kasper Ruud in three sets to advance to his first Masters quarter-final, where he would face Djokovic.
The 23-year-old, ranked 23rd in his career, came from behind and beat Norway’s Ruud 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.
“He played very well and I had to show my best tennis to beat him,” Musetti said.
“I’m really happy that all the hard work I do makes me a better person. I’m really proud of this victory.”
Ruud is struggling after losing the US Open final to Alcaraz, who also finished second at the French Open earlier this year after winning only two of his last six matches.
The 23-year-old took the first set with a single break in the 10th game but then got no response as his opponent fought back.
Musetti, who has won two ATP titles this year, interrupted the serve three times in the next two sets to continue his ascent with the best performance to date at the Masters tournament.
Felix Auger-Aliassime extended his winning streak to 15 matches as the Canadian finished Gilles Simon’s career 6-1, 6-3.
The eighth seed is still on track for a fourth title in a row and will next play Francis Tiafoe after the American beat Alex de Minor 6-3, 7-6 (7/5).
Auger-Aliassime and Rublev reached the ATP final on Wednesday, filling an eight-man field.
Former world No. 6 Simon said he would retire from the sport after the tournament, while the 37-year-old Frenchman retired from the sport following surprise victories over Andy Murray and Taylor Fritz earlier this week.