The Russian Karen Khachanov, 22 years old and 18 in the world, won this Sunday at the Paris indoor tournament the first Masters 1,000 of his career, by defeating por 7-5 and 6-4 to the Serbian Novak Djokovic, of 31 years and this Monday again in the number one of the world, that arrived with a streak of 22 consecutive triumphs.
Already nicknamed as the new Marat Safin, the Muscovite had only won three ATP 250 tournaments so far, two of them this season, Marseille and Moscow, both indoor, but in Paris he has defeated four top-10 players, the last one, a Djokovic visibly affected by the three hours of the semifinal that played the day before against the Swiss Roger Federer.
The Russian, who is revealed as a life insurance in finals, since he has not lost any of the four he has played, inscribed his name in the track record of a tournament that Safin won three times (2000, 2002 and 2004), to become the first of this nationality to win this tournament, since Nicolay Davydenko did it in 2006.
Khachanov replaces the American Jack Sock and becomes the third tennis player to lift the trophy without being seeded, the first since Argentina's David Nalbandian did it in 2007 after defeating Spanish Rafael Nadal in the final.
Until this edition of Paris, Khachanov had only played a semifinal of a Masters 1,000, the last tournament in Toronto, when he lost to Nadal, and this Sunday was his 36th match in tournaments in this category.
Contrast with Djokovic, who disputed his final number 47 in search of his title number 33 that will equal him with Nadal, who, despite everything, will snatch on Monday the scepter of world ranking that will hold for the fourth time in his career.
Twenty-two of the ranking last May, the Serbian has recovered a difference of 8.060 points to the Spanish to defend from the top of the ranking number one in the Nitto ATP Finals of the O2 in London, from next day 11.
This Sunday is the second tripping of the Serbian since his glorious return last summer, which had led him to win the last two Grand Slam, Wimbledon and the US Open, and the last two Masters 1,000, Cincinnati and Shanghai.
Its last defeat dated from August, in eighth of end of Toronto, before the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas.
In Paris, the 31-year-old Serbian completed a streak of 30 consecutive sets, which only broke when he lost one against Croatian Marin Cilic in the quarterfinals.
He will have the satisfaction of the masterpiece he signed in the semifinals against Federer, which possibly took a physical toll against Khachanov.
In the final his level fell, partly due to the brazen power of his rival, but Djokovic was a caricature of the solid and aggressive tennis player of the day before against Basel.
Gesturing and off, the Serbian did not stop blowing his nose, while hammering the raquetazos of a Khachanov who did not take pity on his rival.
The Russian needed an hour and 37 minutes to win his first Masters 1000 final before which he is undoubtedly the most fit tennis player of the moment.
In a season that began as 45 in the world and will end as 11, knocking on the doors of a "top 10" that can be their natural habitat in the coming years.
This season seems to have unlocked his winning instinct, which was hiding against the greats of the circuit. In Paris he has won for the first time a "top 5", the German Alexander Zverev, but also the American John Isner, who came back from two match balls, and the Austrian Dominic Thiem, finalist of the last Roland Garros, in addition to the Dutch Filip Krajinovic, finalist of the last edition of Paris.