Brilliant Nole continued his quest for a record-extending seventh title in Paris-Bercy.
World no.1 Novak Djokovic booked his spot in the semi-finals at the Rolex Paris Masters with a 7-5, 6-7 (3), 6-4 win over defending champion Holger Rune at Accor Arena on Friday.
The 39-time ATP Masters 1000 titlist was made to work hard in a two hour, 54-minute victory.
Novak earned his first break point in the 12th game and took advantage of it to win the first set.
The Dane broke in the third game of the second set, but Djokovic responded immediately breaking back to level. Leading 5-4, Novak had a match point, but Rune saved it to stay alive in the match. The dramatic set went to a tie-break where the 20-year-old sixth seed quickly took a double-break lead and closed it 7-6 (3) after more than an hour of play.
Novak regrouped in the deciding third set. A break in the third game was crucial for the Serbian star to seal the win and level his career H2H series with Rune at 2-2.
“It was quite a similar match to last year’s final, it was any body’s game in every set.” Djokovic said. “I played an awful tie-break in the second set, probably the worst one this year. But again credit to him for staying mentally tough and playing solid. We have similar games. We move well, defend well and we’re all-round players.”
In a high-quality match, Nole won 83 per cent (39/47) of his first-serve points and was 17/22 on net approaches.
Match statistics: aces (10-8), double faults (4-3), winners (31-38), unforced errors (25-26), total points won (97-92).
Novak, who now holds a 48-9 W/L record in Paris, will face Andrey Rublev (RUS, 5, H2H 4-1) in the last four on Saturday.
Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE, 7) and Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) complete semi-final line-up.