Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer to meet in mouth-watering Paris semi-final

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       Novak Djokovic overcame a formidable examination from Marin Cilic

0:50 Novak Djokovic overcame a formidable examination from Marin Cilic

The 14-time Grand Slam champion failed to break Federer once in their three-hour contest on Saturday, but he began the final impressively as he secured the first break of the match, on his fifth break point. Moreover, in the third set, Djokovic tussled to stay in the tournament and broke the Croat in the eighth game which happened to be the rock-bottom for his 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 quarterfinal victory.

A fired-up Djokovic let out a roar and pumped his fist after taking a 3-1 lead when Khachanov drilled a backhand wide under pressure, but the underdog was undeterred and broke back immediately.

Djokovic's elevation is remarkable as it comes just five months after he slumped to 22nd in the world - his lowest ranking for 12 years - when he was knocked out of the French Open in the quarter-finals.

However, the 14-time major victor roared back, breaking twice in the second set to level the contest. "And maybe I'm not crying, but still I'm really happy".

"Whenever I play Roger he demands the best of me".

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All eyes then turned to No9 Kei Nishikori, who took on Roger Federer for the second time in a month.

'It was a big challenge, ' the Serb said as he reflected on his victory.

Nishikori, seeded 10, had lost to seventh-seeded Anderson in the Vienna final on Sunday.

Federer came agonisingly close to snapping his old rival's winning streak, but Djokovic held his nerve in the Paris Masters semifinal to make it 22 wins in a row.

Djokovic was guaranteed a return to the ranking summit when Nadal withdrew from Paris with an abdominal injury on Wednesday. "And I'm looking forward to a rest now and a good preparation for London (ATP Finals)".

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"I think especially the second part of the year I'm playing really my best tennis".

The Serb outlasted Federer in just over three hours to prevail 7-6 (8/6), 5-7, 7-6 (7/3).

Cilic fired 29 winners to advance to the last eight for the third straight year.

With two indoor hard court tournament triumphs to his name already this year, Khachanov will now move up to at least a career-high number 13 in the world next week. This was a match between two heavyweight greats of the game, and they slugged it out like they were Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier.

He is the first Russian to win a Masters title since Nikolay Davydenko in 2009.

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Karen Khachanov beat Dominic Thiem 6-4, 6-1 in the other semifinal, clinching a spot in the Paris Masters final against either Federer or Djokovic.

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