Paris, November 4: Novak Djokovic edged Swiss veteran Roger Federer in full sets in a spotlight semifinal duel to set up his encounter against unseeded Russian Karen Khachanov at the ATP Paris Masters. In their 47th career head-to-head on Saturday, the Serbian moved to one win away from his fifth title at the tournament after triumphing 7-6 (6), 5-7, 7-6 (3) in over three hours to improve the record to 25-22, Xinhua reported.
"We had epic matches throughout our rivalry but this one definitely ranks as one of the best matches we played," Djokovic told a news conference. "When I get to play Roger, I know I have to get the best out of myself in order to win. That's why our rivalries and matches are so special," he added.
Roger Federer on being asked returning to Paris' tournament, he said: "No idea if it was the last match. It was a good one actually. I am sorry I lost. Because it's never fun and nice to lose. I don't know."
He further spoke on French Open, "As I said for the French Open, I will decide at the end of the year to see how it will have an impact on my physical training. Bercy (Paris Masters) as for next year, it's like every year, it's always difficult. I can't foresee too much in advance but I don't think it will be my last match here."
Following current world number 1 Rafael Nadal's withdrawal, it has undoubtedly become the most highly-anticipated clash at the tournament. In the full-capacity Bercy Arena, the two superstars didn't let crowds down as their encounter went in a dramatic manner with two sets forced into tie-breaks.
Watch Paris Masters Video Highlights: Roger Federer vs Novak Djokovic
The opening set saw no break en route to the tie-break, where Djokovic saved a set point with three consecutive points for an 8-6 win. The following set was underway in a much similar path, as both players did quite well on their serves, before Federer registered the only break throughout the match in the 12th game to force a decider at 7-5.
In the decider, Djokovic surrendered a glorious chance of breaking in the ninth game, only to see his 40-15 advantage slip away. The to-be world number 1 threw his racket onto the court in frustration. After the duel recorded another tie-break, Djokovic took the initiative at 6-1. Federer displayed his persistence by saving two match points, but still lost 7-3.