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Djokovic edges Federer in Paris Masters thriller

Djokovic edges Federer in Paris Masters thriller


Paris, Nov. 4:

Novak Djokovic defeated Roger Federer in a thrilling semi-final at the Paris  Masters on Saturday to extend his winning run to 22 matches ahead of his  return to world number one next week.

The Serb outlasted Federer in just over three hours to prevail 7-6 (8/6), 5-7, 7-6 (7/3).

He will meet Russia’s Karen Khachanov in Sunday’s final as he  looks to pull level with Rafael Nadal on 33 career Masters titles.

Djokovic, who will replace an injury-plagued Nadal at the top of  the rankings on Monday, now leads Federer 25-22 overall and has not lost  to the Swiss since 2015.

“Novak is obviously on a roll. You can feel it. At the end it came  down to a few things here and there,” said Federer, who returned to play  in Paris this week for the first time in three years.

“But overall I’m happy with my game. It’s better than last week  in Basel. There I won the tournament and here I played in the semis and  it needed somebody of Novak’s calibre to beat me.

“So that’s all right. And I’m looking forward to a rest now and a  good preparation for London (ATP Finals).”

Djokovic will go in search  of a fifth Paris trophy after denying Federer a shot at a historic 100th  title, although the Wimbledon and US Open champion was pushed all the  way by his 37-year-old rival.

Djokovic watched four break points, one of which Federer saved with  a magnificent reflex volley, go by as he led 4-3 in the opening set,  before saving a set point on his serve in the tie-break.

A Federer backhand drifted wide to hand Djokovic the lead, although  two more break points passed the Serb by in the first game of the  second set with the Swiss on the ropes.

Earlier, the 22-year-old Khachanov advanced to his first Masters  final after beating Austrian sixth seed Dominic Thiem 6-4, 6-1.  “I’m really happy to achieve this, to make it to the finals. But  the tournament is not over. I mean, I’m looking forward to play finals  tomorrow,” said the 18th-ranked Khachanov.

Going into the Paris Masters, Khachanov had won just three of his  19 matches against players in the Top 10 but it took him just 71 minutes  to add the scalp of world number eight Thiem to those of John Isner (9)  and Alexander Zverev (5) whom he beat earlier in the week.

The 1.98m Khachanov dominated from the baseline and attacked the  Thiem service, breaking the Austrian in his final five service games of  the match.

The Russian number two now has 15 match wins at this level this  year, including a trip to the semi-finals of the Rogers Cup in Toronto.

Khachanov has also won two ATP World Tour titles in 2018 with triumphs in Marseille and at the Kremlin Cup.

“I am very happy with the way I have been playing,” said the  Russian who is assured of climbing at least to 12th in the ATP rankings  when they are published on Monday.

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