Wednesday, 23 October, 2019

Khachanov advances to Paris Masters final

Roger Federer 'I played football but tennis was my biggest love' Federer, Djokovic to clash for 47th time with Paris final at stake
Shannon Reynolds | 04 November, 2018, 05:38

Ultimately, though, Federer, who saved all 12 break points on his serve, saw his resilience ended as Djokovic extended his career lead over the Swiss to 25-22 after their longest three-set duel.

"What I'm happy about is that each match I think I was increasing the level".

Despite not being broken in the match, Federer's quest to become just the second man with 100 ATP titles will have to wait, as he sits on 99 with just the year-end ATP Finals left this season.

This time he went right to left with a forehand volley that infuriated Nishikori, who shaped to belt the ball down the court as a ball boy went to catch it, and two points later Federer had secured the set.

With 10 break points wasted, Djokovic forced another two at 4-4, when Federer saved both the Djokovic response was to smash the racket into the arena floor while his opponent closed out the game to move within a game of the match and a first win over the Serb since 2015.

It did not prove a costly error, though.

Federer has only once beaten Djokovic when losing the first set so the opener already had a feel of importance before the match begun.

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Earlier, Russian Karen Khachanov pulled off one of the big surprises of the tournament when he outplayed top young gun Alexander Zverev 6-1 6-2 to reach the other semi against Dominic Thiem, who beat defending champion Jack Sock 4-6 6-4 6-4.

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 mean, I'm looking forward to play finals tomorrow", said the 18th-ranked Khachanov.

'It was a spectacular match and one of the best of my career against him'. "I'm confident and I'm in the final, so I'm really happy about it".

Khachanov, at 22 another of the sport's brightest prospects, took ruthless advantage of the 21-year-old German's physical struggles as Zverev, battling with shoulder trouble, needed a medical time out in the first set at 4-1 down.

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, 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.

Djokovic, who will return to world number one on Monday when the new ATP rankings are released, said: 'We went toe-to-toe.

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