Novak Djokovic Beats Roger Federer, Set for Paris Masters Final vs. Khachanov

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistNovember 3, 2018

PARIS, FRANCE - NOVEMBER 03: Novak Djokovic of Serbia plays a forehand during his Semi Final match against Roger Federer of Switzerland on Day 6 of the Rolex Paris Masters on November 3, 2018 in Paris, France. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)
Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

Novak Djokovic defeated Roger Federer in three sets on Saturday to reach the 2018 Paris Masters final and will face Karen Khachanov in the French capital.

Djokovic won a close opening set, but Federer struck back before the Serb completed a 7-6 (6), 5-7, 7-6 (3) win.

Russian star Khachanov awaits the legend on Sunday after beating Dominic Thiem in straight sets, with the tournament concluding at the AccorHotels Arena.

The opening set was a close affair, and both icons expertly protected their service games. Djokovic saved a break point to frustrate Federer, and then the encounter caught fire midway through the set.

Serbia's Novak Djokovic (L) and Switzerland's Roger Federer shake hands at the end of their men's singles semi-final tennis match on day six of the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 - Rolex Paris Masters - indoor tennis tournament at The AccorHotels Arena in Pa

Federer saved four break points to make it 4-4 with Djokovic starting to take control of the rallies. Each player held serve until the tiebreak, and Djokovic won the shootout 8-6 to grab the first.

Federer wasn't always at his opponent's level, but his experience paid dividends as he fought to stay alive. The second set followed a similar format, with neither man giving away points in their service games.

Djokovic wasted break point near the end of the set with Federer on his back foot, and the Swiss shocked the crowd as he found an extra gear and broke Djokovic to set up a thrilling final set.

The ATP Tour highlighted Federer's fighting qualities:

ATP World Tour @ATPWorldTour

Just when we thought we'd seen it all from @rogerfederer... 😲 Watch the @RolexPMasters live on @TennisTV 📺 https://t.co/Q55pVLePmj

Serving remained at a world-class standard in the final set. Djokovic failed to convert two break points at 4-4 as Federer clung to his tournament chances.

Once again, a tiebreak was needed to separate the combatants, and Djokovic claimed his 25th career win over the superstar.

Khachanov stands between Djokovic and glory. The world No. 18 is in great form, having prevailed 6-4, 6-1 in his semi-final, and will be a difficult hurdle to jump over.