Paris Masters 2018: Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic into Semi-Finals

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistNovember 2, 2018

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 23:  Team Europe Novak Djokovic of Serbia speaks to the media after winning the Laver Cup on day three of the 2018 Laver Cup at the United Center on September 23, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images for The Laver Cup)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic qualified for the semi-finals of the 2018 Paris Masters on Friday, setting up a dream clash between the two titans on Saturday.

Federer took care of Kei Nishikori in two sets, while Djokovic needed a third against Marin Cilic. As shared by TennisTV, Djokovic continued an impressive run of wins in the process:

Tennis TV @TennisTV

21 on the spin for @DjokerNole 🙌 But boy was he pushed hard by Marin Cilic... Nole prevails 6-4 2-6 6-3 in over two hours #RolexParisMasters https://t.co/r2xaBdZGfF

Karen Khachanov and Dominic Thiem will meet in the other semi-final. Here are Friday's results:

(3) Roger Federer bt. (10) Kei Nishikori: 6-4, 6-4

(2) Novak Djokovic bt. (5) Marin Cilic: 4-6, 6-2, 6-3

Karen Khachanov bt. (4) Alexander Zverev: 6-1, 6-2

(6) Dominic Thiem bt. (16) Jack Sock: 4-6, 6-4, 6-4


Cilic played some of the best tennis he's played all year to make life hard on the in-form Djokovic and shocked everyone by claiming the opening set. As shared by the ATP World Tour's official Twitter account, the Serb hadn't dropped a set in some time:

ATP World Tour @ATPWorldTour

He's in one of those moods... 💪🏼🇭🇷💯🔥 @cilic_marin snaps Djokovic's 30-sets won streak 6-4 at @RolexPMasters Croatian 1️⃣ set away from booking his #NittoATPFinals spot #ATP #ATPMasters1000 https://t.co/FfXvH1RFgX

Cilic took full advantage of Djokovic's issues with his own serve, and those troubles persisted throughout the contest. The Djoker responded with some superb work from the baseline to grab breaks of his own, however, ultimately bagging the win.

After the match, Djokovic told reporters illness is to blame for some of his struggles:

Carole Bouchard @carole_bouchard

Novak confirms he’s physically struggling this week: « a kind of flu ». Said it’s not first time he faced this kind of challenge. Says energy levels are a bit low but he’s fighting. « Number 1 is still up for grabs » is his answer for every effort he makes here this week.

He'll have to heal fast to have any chance against Federer, who played very efficient tennis against Nishikori and picked his spots for a routine win.

His first break came late in the first set when the Swiss switched gears in the rallies. Winners like this one made the difference:

Tennis TV @TennisTV

This Federer forehand had some BITE! @rogerfederer 💥🙌💥 #RolexParisMasters https://t.co/61R6evmjDP

That break was immediately followed by another early in the second set, and Federer easily served things out from there.

Elsewhere, defending champion Sock bowed out of the tournament against Thiem, and per tennis writer Christopher Clarey, the loss will have unwanted consequences in the world standings:

Christopher Clarey @christophclarey

Jack Sock, who broke into the top 10 last year by winning the Paris Masters, falls in the quarterfinals to Dominic Thiem 4-6, 6-4, 6-4. Fine effort but Sock, after a brutal year in singles, will drop out of the top 100 on Monday.

Khachanov's superb form continued against Zverev, as he made mincemeat of the German. Zverev was out of sorts and even got visibly upset at his opponent at the end of the first set for some reason, but the two hugged it out at the end of the contest.