PARIS: Top seed and defending champion Novak Djokovic will take on second seed Andy Murray in Sunday’s (Mon¬¬day in Manila) Paris Masters final in the latest installment of their long rivalry.
In Saturday’s semis, Djokovic defeated Stan Wawrinka 6-3, 3-6, 6-0 for his 21st straight win dating back to August 23, while Murray edged past David Ferrer 6-4, 6-3.
Paris is the last of the nine Masters 1000 series for the season with Djokovic having already won five and Murray two.
The win over Wawrinka was sweet revenge for world number one Djokovic, who lost the French Open final to the Swiss star on the other side of Paris in June.
That prevented the 28-year-old Serb from completing his career haul of Grand Slam titles.
As he subsequently won the Wimbledon and US Open titles, having already wrapped up the Australian Open, it also stopped him from becoming just the third man, after Don Budge and Rod Laver, to win all four Grand Slam titles in the same year.
“Credit to Stan for playing a great second set and coming back, winning five games in a row, obviously serving more accurately, playing more powerful from the baseline back of the court, getting more balls back, and it worked for him. He played very well,” Djokovic said.
“But I still felt like I was hitting the ball well. With this kind of feeling and approach, I got to the third set and played the best set of the tournament so far.”
A break in the third game was enough for Djokovic to take the first set and, when he broke to lead 2-0 in the second, it looked like a straightforward win against a player who had finished a punishing quarter-final match against Rafael Nadal well after midnight and got to bed at 3:45 am.
But Wawrinka summoned up his last energies to run off five games in a row and level the set scores.
In so doing he put an end to Djokovic’s superb set winning streak at 29, dating back to the second set of the US Open final against Roger Federer in early September.
A love service game for Djokovic to start the third set, however, reversed the momentum and Wawrinka visibly wilted, allowing the Serb to power into the final for the third straight year.
Wawrinka said that it had not so much been the late finish against Nadal that had left him drained, but more the “exhausting” nature of his win in two tough tiebreaks.