PARIS (Reuters) – Novak Djokovic reached the Paris Masters final for the sixth time when he downed Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov 7-6(5) 6-4 with an impressive performance on Saturday.
The world number one, who will be supplanted by Rafael Nadal at top of the ATP rankings on Monday, prevailed in a high-octane first-set tiebreak before wearing Dimitrov down in the second.
The Serb will face either 19-time Grand Slam champion Nadal or Canada’s Denis Shapovalov in Sunday’s showpiece at Bercy.
Top seed Djokovic, who has lifted the trophy here four times and will play in his 50th Masters final, played better in the key moments and served well throughout.
There were no break points in the first set.
In the tiebreak, Dimitrov moved 5-3 up after an untimely Djokovic double fault, only for the Serb to regain his composure, levelling for 5-5 with an exquisite defensive lob and winning the set at the end of a lung-busting 35-shot rally.
Dimitrov let his guard down in the fifth game of the second set, allowing Djokovic to snatch the only break of the match.
The 16-time Grand Slam winner held serve throughout to strengthen his hopes of ending the season as world number one.
As a result of Djokovic’s victory, second-seeded Spaniard Nadal must win the title to secure the year-end number one spot.
(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Ken Ferris)