Novak Djokovic denies Roger Federer chance to win 100th title

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       Novak Djokovic overcame a formidable examination from Marin Cilic

Novak Djokovic just beat Roger Federer in one of the year's best matches.

Federer has won this tournament only once, back in 2011, and has not played here since 2015.

A far tougher test lies in store for Federer, however, with Djokovic up next and on a 21-match winning run as he bids for a fourth consecutive title.

Kei Nishikori suffered a straight-sets defeat at the hands of Roger Federer on Friday and was knocked out of the Paris Masters.

Djokovic struggled to handle Khachanov's brutal two-handed, cross-court backhands from the baseline, which often landed near his ankles, and dropped his serve again to trail 2-1 in the second set.

"When you lose a close match like this you always have regrets", Federer, who remains one title shy of 100 career trophies, told the crowd, according to the Washington Post.

"I don't want to talk about that".

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Federer has not won the tournament in Paris since 2011, but sealed his progression to Saturday's semi-final with a relatively routine 6-4, 6-4 win over Nishikori. "I couldn't be happier to finish the season like this". The victory required just one break in each set, 6-4, 6-4, and 79 minutes-which was just as well, given that the clock was approaching 11pm and his semi-final against Djokovic begins at 4.30pm Saturday. "But for my fans to get into the match, I also have to play some good tennis".

Djokovic congratulated Khachanov on the win. "This match could have gone either way", said Djokovic.

Djokovic, who will reclaim the top ranking from Rafael Nadal for the first time in two years, made a strong start in his pursuit of a record-equalling 33rd Masters title as he broke for a 3-1 lead in the opening set.

"I hope I play better than in Cincinnati because I really didn't play well", Federer said.

Djokovic reeled off six successive points to bring up five match points, clinching victory at the third attempt when Federer picked out the net to end a tense concluding rally.

Karen Khachanov of Russian Federation has reached the final of the Paris Masters after a comfortable straight sets win over Dominic Thiem of Austria on Saturday. What more can I ask for?

The Russian, who had prevailed in just three of his 19 encounters against players in the top 10, became the third different victor of a 1000 series event this season, could still take part in the ATP Tour Finals in London as a second alternate.

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