Paris, France (SportsNetwork.com) – Novak Djokovic exacted a measure of
revenge Saturday with a straight-set rout of Kei Nishikori in the semifinals
of the Paris Masters and will next face Milos Raonic for the title.
Djokovic lost to Nishikori in the U.S. Open semifinals back in September, but
on Saturday made short work of the Japanese native with a 6-2, 6-3 victory in
a mere 62 minutes.
Raonic had more of a struggle in the semifinal opener Saturday, taking more
than two hours to dispose of Tomas Berdych, 6-3, 3-6, 7-5.
The top-seeded Djokovic cruised on Saturday and earned his 599th career match
victory. A win in the final would make him the third player this year to reach
600, following Lleyton Hewitt and David Ferrer.
Djokovic will play in his seventh final of 2014 on Sunday and will try for his
sixth title. He won previously at Indian Wells, Miami, Rome, Wimbledon and
Beijing, losing only to Rafael Nadal at the French Open.
The Serb has a finals record of 46-22 and will bid for his 20th career Masters
crown. He won this title in 2009 and last year.
Raonic, seeded seventh this week, followed his upset of Roger Federer on
Friday with a strong performance against Berdych and will carry a 6-6 record
in finals into Sunday’s match. He is 1-1 this year, winning the U.S. Open
tune-up in Washington, DC before losing to Nishikori last month in Tokyo.
Berdych, the 2005 Paris Masters winner, gave the match away Saturday with a
pair of double faults and two more errors in the final game.
“I just totally messed it up with the last game,” said Berdych. “It was
definitely the worst game I ever played here at this tournament this year. You
have days like this where things are going well, and then just at the last
moment, everything is gone.”
Raonic, who qualified for the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals with
Friday’s win, is 0-3 lifetime against Djokovic. The two met twice earlier this
year, with Djokovic rallying for a three-set victory in the Rome semifinals
before a straight-set triumph in the French Open quarters.