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ATP Rolex Paris Masters Tennis • Djokovic Edges Federer In Three-Set Thriller, Awaits Khachanov In Final

Roger Federer of Switzerland  (R) congratulates Novak Djokovic of Serbia after their semifinal match at the Rolex Paris Masters tennis tournament in Paris, France, 03 November 2018.  EPA-EFE/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON



By Ricky Dimon


The 47th installment of the Novak Djokovic vs. Roger Federer rivalry certainly didn’t disappoint.


In one of the most entertaining matches of the year, Djokovic edged Federer 7-6(6), 5-7, 7-6(3) in the Rolex Paris Masters semifinals on Saturday evening. Although Djokovic did not break serve once, he managed to triumph after three hours and two minutes of action.


“We had epic matches throughout our rivalry but this one definitely ranks as one of the best matches we played,” the Serb said. “High-quality tennis. Next to the match I played against (Rafael) 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.


“This is my best match of the year, that’s for sure. Big respect to Roger. Whenever I play Roger he demands the best of me.”


Djokovic was often at his best on Saturday, but not all of the time–at least not on break points. He earned a whopping 12 break chances but could not convert on any occasion. The Serb missed five chances in the opening set, three in the second, and four more in the third.


After staying within striking distance by saving three break points in set two, Federer eventually struck for the lone break of the contest at 6-5. That set the stage for a dramatic third, with Djokovic finally taking control via two mini-breaks in the first five points of the ‘breaker.


“The quality of his serve tonight was quite amazing, to be honest,” Djokovic said of Federer. “His serve was always his weapon. But tonight he was just hitting the spots beautifully. He was mixing it up.”


“When you lose a close match like this you always have regrets,” Federer admitted. “Losing is never fun…. Novak is obviously on a roll. You can feel it. He protects his serve very well.”


Djokovic, who is now 31-1 in his last 32 matches, will now meet Karen Khachanov for the title. Khachanov defeated Dominic Thiem 6-4, 6-1 in the first semifinal.


Djokovic and Khachanov will be going head-to-head for the second time in their careers on Sunday afternoon. Their only previous encounter came earlier this season in the Wimbledon fourth round; Djokovic dominated 6-4, 6-2, 6-2.


Khachanov is not alone in his inability to touch Djoker during the second half of 2018. In fact, the current world No. 2 is an amazing 31-1 in his last 32 matches dating back to the start of Wimbledon. In addition to titles at the All-England Club and the U.S. Open, he also prevailed at Masters 1000 tournaments in Cincinnati and Shanghai.


Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @TennGrand.

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