PARIS: Novak Djokovic edged Holger Rune on Friday to avenge his defeat in last year’s Paris Masters final and reach the last four, while Stefanos Tsitsipas arranged a meeting with Grigor Dimitrov.
World number one Djokovic missed a match point in the second set but eventually defeated Denmark’s Rune in the quarter-finals with scores of 7-5, 6-7 (3/7) and 6-4 for 2-3. We will stay on the field at Bercy Arena for a quarter of an hour.
The Serbian star is playing in his first ATP Tour event since scoring a record 24th Grand Slam in New York in September.
Six-time Paris champion Djokovic will face Andrey Rublev in the final after defeating Russia’s Alex de Minaur with sets of 4-6, 6-3, 6-1.
“It was a very similar match to last year’s final, it was everyone’s game in every set,” Djokovic said.
“I played a terrible tiebreak in the second set, probably the worst of the year. But let’s thank him once again for staying mentally strong and playing solid.
“We have similar games. Move well, defend well and are well-rounded players.”
The 36-year-old claimed the second victory of his career against Rune, who now works with Djokovic’s former coach Boris Becker, after suffering two consecutive defeats to the world number seven.
“It was strange to see Boris in the opponent’s penalty area,” Djokovic added. “I wish Holger and him the best.”
Djokovic captured a serve-heavy opening set with a break in the 12th game.
Leading 5-4 in the second set, Rune saw a match point come and go on his serve, before the 20-year-old went on to produce a string of brilliant points to seal a decider in the tiebreak.
However, Djokovic put in a solid performance in the third set and even a single break in the third game was enough for him to achieve success.
Djokovic has won 16 consecutive matches since losing to Carlos Alcaraz in the Wimbledon final.
He won all eight of his previous Paris Masters semi-finals.
Tsitsipas gives strength
Tsitsipas advanced to the semi-finals with a dominant 6-3, 6-4 victory over Karen Khachanov.
This win, which was the 300th win of his career, gave the Greek, ranked sixth in the world, a semi-final match with Dimitrov, who defeated Hubert Hurkacz with sets of 6-1, 4-6, 6-4.
Tsitsipas, who reached the last four after losing to Djokovic a year ago, also advanced to the same stage without losing a set.
“It works well. I feel like I can mix up the game,” Tsitsipas said.
Tsitsipas has already qualified for the season-ending ATP Finals as one of the year’s top eight players, but Hurkacz’s defeat against Dimitrov knocked the Pole out of contention.
Alexander Zverev and Rune will take the last two places at the event to be held in Turin later this month.
In the last few weeks, Dimitrov, 32, reached the semi-finals in Chengdu, the quarter-finals in Beijing and the semi-finals of the Masters event in Shanghai.
The road to the last four in Paris included the shocking defeat of world number three Daniil Medvedev in the second round.
“My body is in good shape for now, that’s the most important thing,” Dimitrov said.
“I’m high. If I can play that way consistently throughout every game, I’ll put myself in a position to do better.”
Dimitrov last reached the semi-finals in Paris in 2019, losing to Djokovic.
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