Djokovic beats Federer in epic Paris semi

Arnold Nichols
November 7, 2018

The Russian hit 31 winners to spoil Djokovic's celebration to return to the world number one on Monday with a record-extending fifth Paris title.

Djokovic had not been beaten since Stefanos Tsitsipas knocked him out of the Rogers Cup in August, but the new world number one came unstuck against another rising star on Sunday. Moreover, in the third set, Djokovic tussled to stay in the tournament and broke the Croat in the eighth game which happened to be the rock-bottom for his 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 quarterfinal victory.

Karen Khachanov, the Russian No.1 player won the greatest trophy of his career today, beating Novak Djokovic, in two straight sets 7-5 6-4 to claim the Paris Masters title.

It was the first time in their 12 years of battling that Djokovic had won four matches in succession against Federer, equaling the run that the Swiss himself had once achieved at the dawn of their rivalry.

Still, the Wimbledon and U.S. Open champion has plenty to feel good about after a 22-match winning streak, and he remains favorite for the season-ending ATP Finals in London, beginning November 11.

Djokovic had his personal-best winning sequence of 30 consecutive sets ended in Bercy as Cilic played nearly flawlessly aggressive tennis to draw first blood in a magnificent duel. Federer saved both break points, and Djokovic whacked his racket into the ground, drawing the first and only boos of a titanic match.

A rasping serve down the tee sealed the set for the 22-year-old, with Djokovic looking flat and in need of inspiration.

Djokovic broke for 3-1 in the second set and did not look back.

Federer was not required to make a further gain as Nishikori failed to muster any sort of fightback and is now dependent on an injury for one of the world's leading lights in order to reach London.

"After that, my intensity (changed), I stepped in more inside the court, started to move him and maybe he didn't expect that", said Khachanov, who did not give up another break point in the rest of the match with his pinpoint, heavy serving.

The match victor will start as favorite on Sunday against the Russia's Karen Khachanov who defeated Dominic Thiem to reach his maiden Masters 1000 final.

"I told him my shoulder is hurting and that his uncle, or something, that he's going a bit insane", he said.

Djokovic reeled off six successive points to bring up five match points, clinching victory at the third attempt when Federer picked out the net to end a tense concluding rally. "I told him to tell him to keep it down a little bit because he was going a little bit too much over the edge".

"I thought it was really solid", Federer told the ATP. "But nevertheless I think I've got nothing to lose", Federer said.

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