Djoko to play Raonic in Masters final
Novak Djokovic of Serbia will play Milos Raonic of Canada in Sunday’s Paris Masters final after they emerged from starkly contrasting semifinals 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.
The 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 quarterfinals of the French Open in June.
Djokovic, a 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 semifinals 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 quarterfinal tie against David Ferrer after midnight on Friday.
‘It was a great match,’ Djokovic said of his form against Nishikori. ‘I haven’t dropped a set getting into the finals. I definitely feel fresh and motivated to play well on Monday.
‘We could see Kei wasn’t serving at his best, maybe he was fatigued from finishing late last night.
‘Regardless, 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 on Monday.’
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.
For 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.
Both 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 on Friday.