Nole stays on track for a record-extending seventh Paris Masters crown!
Top seed Novak Djokovic set up a Paris Masters final against Grigor Dimitrov by beating no.5 seed Andrey Rublev 5-7, 7-6 (3), 7-5 to continue his outstanding run of form.
It was a lengthy three-set battle and it was Novak who eventually progressed past the Russian on Saturday evening to secure his place in the title match.
Although Novak broke his rival’s serve in the first game of the match, the Moscow native regrouped quickly and overturned the early deficit to take the opener.
There was little to separate the two players in the second set until the 36-year-old Serbian star raised his game in the tie-break to level the contest.
Novak grabbed the crucial break in the 12th game of the deciding set after a double fault by Rublev.
“I think breathing a little bit more and having a little bit more time and space to hit the ball,” said Djokovic, when asked what had made the difference late in the match. “Rublev was suffocating me like a snake suffocates a frog for most of the match. He was playing an extremely high level that he possesses, but today he was off the charts, honestly. I don’t think I’ve ever faced Rublev this good.”
“I have been going through quite a difficult stomach virus that really made me feel terrible the past three days, but somehow I managed to find strength, find energy under the adrenaline rush of playing a match. I am proud of not giving up, fighting and believing that I can come back, which happened again and hopefully it can happen tomorrow.”
Match statistics: aces (17-16), double faults (5-2), winners (36-49), unforced errors (33-36), total points won (117-113).
The six-time champion will take on Dimitrov in Sunday’s championship match at 15:00 CET after the Bulgarian found a way past seventh seed Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Djokovic will compete for his 40th Masters 1000 trophy.