11/4/2018 12:35:31 AM

'One of my best': Djokovic edges Federer in Paris Masters thriller

Paris: Novak Djokovic defeated Roger Federer on Saturday in a Paris Masters semi-final that he described as "one of the best matches" between the long-time rivals to extend his winning run to 22 outings.

The Serb, who will replace Rafael Nadal as world No.1 on Monday, outlasted Federer in just over three hours to prevail 7-6 (8-6), 5-7, 7-6 (7-3). 

He will meet Russia's Karen Khachanov in Sunday's final as he looks to pull level with Nadal on 33 career Masters titles.

Djokovic has won his last four meetings with Federer and now leads the Swiss 25-22 overall, having not lost to the 20-time Grand Slam champion since 2015.

"We had epic matches throughout our rivalry but this one definitely ranks as one of the best matches we played," said Djokovic, who is aiming to clinch a fourth title in a row after wins at Cincinnati, the US Open and Shanghai.

"High quality tennis. Next to the match I played against Nadal in the semis of Wimbledon, this was definitely the most exciting match I was playing this year, and probably the best quality tennis match that I was part of.

"When I get to play Roger, I know I have to get the best out of myself in order to win. And that's why our rivalries and matches are so special."

Djokovic will go in search of a fifth Paris trophy after denying Federer a shot at a historic 100th title, although the Wimbledon and US Open champion was pushed all the way by his 37-year-old rival.

Djokovic watched four break points, one of which Federer saved with a magnificent reflex volley, go by as he led 4-3 in the opening set, before saving a set point on his serve in the tie-break.

A Federer backhand drifted wide to hand Djokovic the lead, although two more break points passed the Serb by in the first game of the second set with the Swiss on the ropes.

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