Djokovic and Federer to meet for first time this year
Paris clash will be the 30th meeting between the two, but the first since Djokovic defeated Swiss great in London a year ago
Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer will play each other for the first time this year after both won their quarter-final ties at the Paris Masters on Friday.
Djokovic swept into the semi-finals with a rapid-fire 6-1, 6-4 win over Stanislas Wawrinka, while Federer came through a second-set wobble to edge Juan Martin del Potro 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.
It will be the 30th meeting between the two, but the first since Djokovic defeated the Swiss great in the ATP World Tour final in London a year ago.
World number one and top seed Rafael Nadal, meanwhile, stayed on course for a record sixth Masters Series title in the same year as he swatted aside the uncertain challenge of French number one Richard Gasquet 6-4, 6-1.
His semi-final opponent will be titleholder and fellow Spaniard David Ferrer, who came from a set down to oust Tomas Berdych 4-6, 7-5, 6-3.
Djokovic, Paris Masters champion in 2009, said Federer was having a strong finish to what had been a disappointing season.
“Roger is probably experiencing the worst season that he has had in past 10 years, but he’s still a player to beat in every tournament, because he’s Roger Federer, because he has won 17 grand slams, and we all know how successful a career he has,” the Serb said.
“You cannot underestimate him, although maybe he’s not at the form where he was when he was No. 1 of the world. But I have been watching his matches in Basel last week and here. I think he’s playing really well.”
Fifth seed Federer had lost for the third straight time to the towering Argentine in the final of the Basel tournament on Sunday, on what was home turf for him.
But with Del Potro looking decidedly leg weary from his marathon efforts in recent weeks that have seen him win 15 out of his last 16 matches, Federer got the best of three consecutive breaks of serve in the middle of the third set to take another step towards what would be a 22nd career Masters title, and only his second in Paris after that of 2011.
The win was just the second this year for Federer against a player ranked in the world top 10 and boosted his hopes of salvaging something from what has been a dismal 12 months.
“I knew it was a long time that I had been able to do that (beat a top five player). Every time I played a top 10 I lost, but it was tight.
“So I’m happy now I won against a top 10 again, especially just before London where I will have to play against three top 10 players in a row.”