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Alcaraz cruises into Paris quarters

PARIS: World number one Carlos Alcaraz swatted aside Grigor Dimitrov in straight sets on Thursday to reach the Paris Masters quarterfinals, while Lorenzo Musetti dumped out third seed Casper Ruud.


The Spanish teenager, hoping to win a third Masters title of the year after previous successes in Miami and Madrid, saw off former world number three Dimitrov 6-1, 6-3 in 72 minutes.


Alcaraz will be confirmed as the year-end world number one before the ATP Finals in Turin later this month if he lifts the trophy this weekend in the French capital.


"It was not his day, he didn't play at his best, but I played my game," said the 19-year-old US Open champion.


Alcaraz will take on either Dane Holger Rune or seventh seed Andrey Rublev for a last-four place.


The top seed got off to a rapid start at Bercy Arena, taking nine of the first 10 games to seize total control of the match.


Dimitrov managed to break back in the second set, but Alcaraz broke again in the eighth game and comfortably wrapped up victory.


He hit 16 winners and made only six unforced errors in a dominant display, while Dimitrov saw 24 unforced errors fly off his racquet.


Italian youngster Musetti downed third seed Ruud in three sets to reach his maiden Masters quarterfinal.


The 20-year-old, at a career-high ranking of 23rd, came from behind to beat the Norwegian Ruud 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.


Musetti will next face either reigning champion Novak Djokovic or Russian Karen Khachanov.


"He was playing really well and I had to play my best tennis to beat him," said Musetti.


"I am really happy that all the hard work I am doing keeps improving me. I am really proud of this win."


Ruud has struggled since losing the US Open final to Alcaraz -- having also been the French Open runner-up earlier this year -- winning just two of his last six matches.


The 23-year-old took the opening set with a single break in the 10th game but then had no answer as his opponent battled back.


Musetti, who has lifted two ATP titles this year, broke serve three times across the next two sets to continue his rise with his best performance to date at a Masters event.


Djokovic faces Khachanov later on Thursday, with the in-form Felix Auger-Aliassime and Stefanos Tsitsipas also in last-16 action. -- AFP


ATP Paris Masters results


Third round


Carlos Alcaraz (ESP x1) bt Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) 6-1, 6-3; Frances Tiafoe (USA x16) bt Alex de Minaur (AUS) 6-3, 7-6 (7/5); Lorenzo Musetti (ITA) bt Casper Ruud (NOR x3) 4-6, 6-4, 6-4


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