Novak Djokovic continued his dominance of the ATP Tour, outlasting Roger Federer in a thrilling semifinal at the Paris Masters tonight 7-6(6), 5-7, 7-6(3) in just over three hours.
Djokovic never broke serve in the match going 0/12 on break chances, but in the final set breaker was the far steadier player while Federer offered up a double fault and multiple errors.
“We had epic matches throughout our rivalry but this one definitely ranks as one of the best matches we played,” said Djokovic who is now 25-22 against Federer. “High quality tennis. Next to the match I played against Nadal in the semis of Wimbledon, this was definitely the most exciting match I was playing this year, and probably the best quality tennis match that I was part of.
“It was also expected, because when I get to play Roger, I know I have to get the best out of myself in order to win. And that’s why our rivalries and matches are so special.”
Djokovic ran his win streak to 22 and with a title tomorrow, he would virtually wrap up the year-end No. 1 ranking. He’s also won the last four against the Swiss and eight of their last 10.
Federer, who was making his first appearance at an event in Paris in years, came up just short of a 100th career title, and now can no longer finish the season No. 1.
“It’s intense. It’s good tennis. We care about winning. We don’t like losing. So I can tell you that right now,” Federer said. “Losing is never fun, so that’s why I guess I have this face right now.”
Djokovic will face the surprising first-time Masters finalist Karen Khachanov who resumed his torrid play cruising past Dominic Thiem 6-4, 6-1.
“What I’m happy about is that each match I think I was increasing the level. That shows that I’m improving in my consistency, I’m becoming a better player, playing from the beginning of the tournament better and better, so that’s a good thing,” said Khachanov who now has three Top 10 wins this week. “In this match I think it was really intense the first couple of games and then at 4-4 when it more pressure was coming, I could break him, and then I took the lead.”
Djokovic won the only meeting with the Russian at Wimbledon in straight sets.
“I think especially the second part of the year I’m playing really my best tennis. I’m having the best season, so far,” Khachanov said. “I’m confident and I’m in the final, so I’m really happy about it.”
Djokovic is bidding for his fifth Paris title, 33rd overall Masters, 73rd of his career and fifth of 2018. The 22-year-old Khachanov is seeking his biggest title and third of his career.
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