A high-reel semifinal encounter awaits Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer after they conquered respective opponents at the ATP Paris Masters on Friday.
Djokovic, set to return to world No. 1 next week at the ATP rankings, reached the semi-finals after recovering from a break down in the final set to defeat Marin Cilic 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, extending his winning streak to 21 matches, but had his personal best winning sequence of 30 consecutive sets ended.
Meanwhile, in his first appearance at the Paris Masters since 2015, Federer improved his momentum as matches went underway as he shrugged off Japan's Kei Nishikori in straight sets, and the latter failed to qualify for the ATP Finals later this month.
"I know Novak's on a hot streak so I think it's going to be tough. But nevertheless, I think I've got nothing to lose," Federer said before their 47th meeting on Saturday.
Siberia's Novak Djokovic plays a backhand against Croatian rival Marin Cilic during Paris Masters. /VCG Photo
Djokovic leads Federer 24-22 and has not lost to the Swiss since 2015.
However, the Serbian admits that his upcoming challenge may be compromised by a heavy cold. "I'm still struggling. It's kind of a flu. It's not easy to perform every single day, the energy levels are not as high," said the second seed.
Unseeded Karen Khachanov powered past No. 4 seed Alexander Zverev hampered by shoulder pains 6-1, 6-2, and is set to make his second career ATP Masters 1000 semifinal appearance following that in Toronto in August.
The Russian established his semifinal duel against Austria's Dominic Thiem, as the No. 6 seed rallied past the defending champion Jack Sock 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.
Japan's Kei Nishikori lost to Roger Federer during the Paris Masters. /VCG Photo
Nishikori's loss means that Cilic and Thiem have clinched the remaining two Finals spots.
Other contenders at the year-end tournament will be Rafael Nadal, Djokovic, Federer, Juan Martin del Potro, Zverev and Kevin Anderson.