Paris - Novak Djokovic of Serbia will play Milos Raonic of Canada in Sunday's
Paris Masters final after they emerged from starkly contrasting
semi-finals on Saturday.
Top seed and defending champion Djokovic
routed a weary Kei Nishikori of Japan 6-2, 6-3 in just 62 minutes, while
seventh seed Raonic edged Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic 6-3, 3-6,
7-5 in a clash that had looked destined for a deciding tie-break.
two finalists on Sunday have played each other three times previously
with Djokovic winning all three, the last occasion being a straight sets
win in the quarter-finals of the French Open in June.
two-time former champion in Paris, gained sweet revenge over Nishikori
for the stunning four-sets loss to the Japanese speedster in the US Open
semi-finals in September.
But even he must have been surprised at
just how easy it was as he enjoyed one-way traffic all the way apart
from a brief spark of resistance from Nishikori halfway through the
second set when he achieved his only break of serve.
But the first
Asian man to reach a Grand Slam singles final at least had some genuine
excuses to offer up having finished his 2 hour 43 minutes quarter-final
tie against David Ferrer after midnight on Friday.
"It was a great match," Djokovic said of his form against Nishikori.
haven't dropped a set getting into the finals. I definitely feel fresh
and motivated to play well tomorrow. "We could see Kei wasn't serving at
his best, maybe he was fatigued from finishing late last night.
I played well and concentrated on what I needed to do. I served
exceptionally well in the important moments and it's something that
encourages me for tomorrow."
If Djokovic will be gunning for his
20th Masters Series title on Sunday, 23-year-old Raonic will be playing
in just his second final at that level, having lost in straight sets to
Rafael Nadal on home soil at Montreal in September, 2013.
Berdych the defeat meant the Czech's hopes of winning the Paris title
for the second time after 2005 went begging. To date that is his only
Masters Series title having lost in two finals since then.
men, however, were already assured of playing in the ATP World Tour
Finals in London in just nine days time after their quarter-final wins
There, in what will be the finale to the ATP season,
they will join Djokovic, Nishikori, Roger Federer, Stan Wawrinka, Andy
Murray and Marin Cilic.- Raonic Ready -
"It's amazing, all the things that are happening," said 23-year-old Raonic.
final tomorrow, it's just about really buckling down, hoping to play
another great match, and making the most of the opportunity ahead.
know the challenge that will be in front of me, and I'm going to have
to play very good tennis. I feel like I'm ready for that."
home heroes Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gael Monfils already eliminated and
crowd favourite Federer sent packing on Friday by Raonic, the atmosphere
was distinctly subdued inside the Bercy Indoor Arena for the first of
As expected the serving was ferocious from two of
the tallest players in the sport at 1.96m for the Canadian and 1.90 for
Raonic was the first to strike with a break of serve
in the fourth game, getting the better of Berdych in a punishing 25-shot
rally to take a 3-1 lead.
That was enough to ensure him a one set advantage with Berdych failing to muster a single break point against the Canadian.
second set, however, saw Raonic suffer a lapse of concentration in the
second game. A double fault gave Berdych his first two break points and
he converted the second of these when Raonic netted a defensive backhand
Once again the single early break of serve proved to be
crucial with Berdych having little difficulty in holding onto his own
serve after that.
The decider was totally dominated by serve with
the first 11 games providing not a single break point and a tie-break
But all that changed in the 12th game when a
rash of errors from an edgy Berdych brought up match point for Raonic
and the Canadian clinched victory with a big forehand which drew a
netted backhand from the Czech who smashed his racquet off the ground in
After calming down, Berdych had words of praise for the man he had just lost to.
think it's really a guy that we all need to watch for in the future.
He's just slowly proving that he's going to be really a tough player
with all the weapons that he has," he said.Results on the sixth day of the ATP Paris Masters on Saturday (x denotes seeding):
Milos Raonic (CAN x7) bt Tomas Berdych (CZE x5) 6-3, 3-6, 7-5
Novak Djokovic (SRB x1) bt Kei Nishikori (JPN x6) 6-2, 6-3