Djokovic and Federer win to set up Paris Masters semifinal

Djokovic and Federer win to set up Paris Masters semifinal

Novak Djokovic's latest victory over Roger Federer was among the toughest and best in their epic rivalry, a 7-6 (6), 5-7, 7-6 (3) feast of attacking tennis which had the roaring crowd on their feet and remained in doubt until the very end.

After the two players held their serves for 4-all, Khachanov broke for the first time before bagging the first set 6-4. If he defeats Thiem, Khachanov will have earned three Top 10 wins in as many days after beating No. 9 John Isner on Thursday and No. 5 Alexander Zverev on Friday.

Djokovic is now on a 22-match winning streak, and will aim to move level with Rafael Nadal on a record 33 Masters titles.

Djokovic also defeated Federer in the 2013 Rolex Paris Masters semi-finals. In the 2013 semifinals, he bounced back from a set down to beat the Swiss, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.

Khachanov, the victor at last month's Kremlin Cup in Moscow, demolished out-of-sorts fourth seed Alexander Zverev of Germany 6-1, 6-2 while Thiem knocked out defending champion Jack Sock, the 16th-seeded American, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4. "I came here to Paris with no expectations and figuring that I'd just play a match or two, thinking I'd probably lose because I was too exhausted after Basel".

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The Russian player, who named Marat Safin, a former Russian tennis star as his hero and inspiration, was born in Moscow on 21 May 1996.

Federer fended off two more break points to open the third set as Djokovic hit the deck when his ankle appeared to catch in the surface. "I'm really pleased to overcome this kind of challenge".

Djokovic, who beat Khachanov on the way to winning the Wimbledon title this summer, is seeking a record-extending fifth Paris Masters title.

The Swiss great was playing just his second match of the week in France, having received a walkover against Milos Raonic in round two, but eased to a routine win as Nishikori missed out on a place in the ATP Finals.

Now he has to find a way past Djokovic, the Wimbledon and U.S. Open champion who has beaten Federer in their past three meetings and leads him 24-22 overall.

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"No idea if it was the last match", Federer replied when asked whether Saturday's loss to Djokovic could be the final time he plays in Paris.

"The second thing is after some tough loses against top guys like Rafa in NY, I think they push me to the limit and even to work more harder".

"When I get to play Roger, I know I have to get the best out of myself in order to win".

Djokovic, who has been an impervious force over the past four months, said, "The quality of his serve tonight was quite fantastic, to be honest". But already an established player, a top player.

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