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Federer vs Djokovic ATP Paris Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: All-time greats Federer and Djokovic meet for the 47th time

Leye Aduloju in ATP Tour 3 Nov 2018
  • Roger Federer vs Novak Djokovic is live from Paris on Saturday, 3 November from 4:30pm local time/ 3:30pm GMT
  • Djokovic leads 24-22 on head-to-head
Roger Federer. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Roger Federer's quest for a 100th career title faces a significant roadblock on Saturday as the great Swiss takes on Novak Djokovic in a blockbuster semifinal at the Paris Masters.

This will be the 47th meeting between Federer and Djokovic, as the two all-time greats go head-to-head for a spot in the Paris Masters final.

Both players came through contrasting quarter finals on Friday, with Federer easing past Kei Nishikori 6-4 6-4, while Djokovic had to battle back from a set down, and a break down in the final set to see off Marin Cilic 4-6 6-2 6-3.

For Federer, the 2011 Paris Masters champion, he returns to the semi-finals for the first time since 2013, and is looking to get into the final for just the second time, the first being his title run back in 2011. Federer has been largely untroubled in his Paris progress; he got a walkover the opening round after Milos Raonic withdrew from their scheduled meeting, while he was too good for Fabio Fognini in a straight-sets win, despite not playing well, by his own admission.

The Swiss maestro certainly played well on Friday against Nishikori, moving past the in-form Japanese in an hour and 20 minutes. Federer won a staggering 97% of points on his first serve (28 of 29), while he wasn't shabby at all on second serve points won, which stood at 59%- that against a player that returns serve as well as Nishikori. The only break point he conceded came while he served for the first set, which he duly snuffed out.

"Kei is one of the best returners in the game and if you allow him to come into your service games too frequently, he's going to really hurt you", Federer said after the match. "I think I was able to avoid that and then winning straight sets is always nice. It saves energy for not only what is to come tomorrow or the following week, but for your career". 

Federer is attempting to reach his seventh final of the season, having won titles at the Australian Open, Rotterdam, Stuttgart, and Basel, where he claimed his 99th career title, while he lost finals in Halle and Cincinnati.

Can Djokovic halt the Swiss’ quest for a milestone 100th career title on Saturday?

Djokovic hasn't quite been at his best this week, and he has admitted that he is being bothered by a ‘kind of flu’. He has soldiered on nonetheless, battling past a brave Joao Sousa 7-5 6-1 in the opening round, benefiting from the retirement of Damir Dzumhur in the third round, and then edging past Cilic in the quarter finals on Friday.

Novak Djokovic. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)
Both Djokovic and Cilic had chances in a tight first set, but neither could pounce until Cilic forced the breakthrough in the ninth game before serving out the set.

Cilic dropped his intensity in the second set, and Djokovic typically swooped in to seize control. The Serbian broke twice, and did not face break point throughout the set, as he pushed the match into a final set. Cilic struck first blood in the decider, breaking for the 2-1 lead, sparking a furious reaction from Djokovic, who smashed his bracket into the ground in frustration, but that apparently worked a treat, as he picked himself up to win five of the next six games and take the match.

By dropping the first set against Cilic, Djokovic's personal best of 30 consecutive sets won was terminated, but he recovered to preserve his unbeaten streak, which now stands at 21 matches. 

Rafael Nadal’s early withdrawal from the Paris Masters had already guaranteed Djokovic a return to No. 1 next week, and it's quite fitting that he should reclaim ranking in Paris, the same city where he had lost it in 2016. He'd love to celebrate his ascent to the top by going all the way in the French capital!

A lot has happened in Djokovic's life between 2016 and now- the six-month hiatus, elbow surgery, a drastic loss of form and finally, a reincarnation of the real Novak Djokovic. He struggled badly at the start of the year, but once he got reunited with Marian Vajda, his results changed completely. He has been on a 30-1 run since Wimbledon, winning a third title at the All England Club, winning Cincinnati, where he became the first man to win all nine ATP Masters 1000 titles, winning the US Open and winning Shanghai. He has been doing a ridiculous amount of winning lately. Can he pick up another one against Roger Federer on Saturday?

"I want to play well. I want to try to win, obviously. I know he'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. "I also like this type of surface, I like playing indoors. Indoors has treated me very well, winning Rotterdam and Basel. I think I'm ready to do something tomorrow, but clearly I have to play a lot of good tennis tomorrow because those are the question Novak asks of you".

The head-to-head reads 24-22 in Djokovic's favour, and the Serbian, at his best, with his unyielding baseline game and often underrated offence has proven to be too good for everyone else over the years. He’s talked about having to deal with some kind of flu this week, so that could be a factor in the outcome of this one.

Federer isn’t going to beat Djokovic from the back of the court, hence expect the great Swiss to mix things up, alter the pace of the ball, move forward, draw Djokovic forward, and do all those other magical things that he does, but he must also get the basics right, most importantly the serve, as that would give him a foundation to build on. There is plenty of reasons to believe Federer can win this one- he is the great Roger Federer, after all, but Djokovic, given the form he’s been in, starts again as the favourite on Saturday.

Roger Federer vs Novak Djokovic is live from Paris on Saturday, 3 November from 4:30pm local time/ 3:30pm GMT

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Federer vs Djokovic ATP Paris Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: All-time greats Federer and Djokovic meet for the 47th time

Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic meet in the semi-finals of the Paris Masters on Saturday. Who will win the 47th meeting between the great men? Read our preview, predictions and stream the match live online.

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