PARIS, November 3, 2018
Roger Federer has faced 328 players in 1,435 matches over his 20-year career on the ATP World Tour. He’s never met an opponent as often as Novak Djokovic, whom he played for the 47th time in the Rolex Paris Masters semi-finals on Saturday and lost in three sets.
Djokovic withstood 17 aces from the Swiss maestro and won the match without breaking serve 7-6(6), 5-7, 7-6(3) after three hours and two minutes.
What a way to finish!
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) 3. November 2018
“We went toe to toe until the last shot, it was one of the best matches I have played in this year and one of the matches we have played against each other,” Djokovic said. The 31-year-old Serbian will now have the chance to mark his return to the World No. 1 ranking on Monday with a fifth title of the year.
Earlier in the day, Russia’s rising star Karen Khachanov beat sixth seeded Austrian Dominic Thiem 6-4, 6-1 to reach his maiden ATP Masters 1000 final. The encounter lasted one hour and 10 minutes.
“What I’m happy about is that each match I think I was increasing the level. That shows that I’m improving in my consistency, I’m becoming a better player, playing from the beginning of the tournament better and better, so that’s a good thing,” Khachanov said. “In this match I think it was really intense the first couple of games and then at 4-4 when it more pressure was coming, I could break him, and then I took the lead.”
Khachanov will try to lift the biggest trophy of his career against four-time champion Djokovic, who won the only previous meeting between the two at Wimbledon earlier this season.