Roger Federer could not have wished for a better start of the BNP Paribas Masters 2013 semi-final match against another former World no. 1 Novak Djokovic – he broke the second seed Serb in the third game and did not face any threats until serving for the first set at 5-4. Nole now created a pair break points, yet the Swiss Maestro was bursting with confidence in those moments as he first made it to deuce before denying his opponent a couple of more opportunities to steal the serve. In the end, FedEx prepared the second set point and closed out the opener after Novak’s backhand return sailed long. Successful execution of 11 net attacks to Djokovic’s 2 was one of the key differences between the contestants in that part of the encounter, whilst Federer could also heavily rely on his first serves with 75% of them being on target.
In the set number two the fifth-seeded Swiss picked up where he let off a few minutes ago as he seized his rival’s serve in the first game, yet the Serb champion bounced right back which helped him to find some foothold. Federer tried to reinstate his dominance, but quite a few unforced errors were creeping into his game, whilst the first serve began to let him down as well. While he again escaped a 15-40 deficit in the sixth game, he missed a forehand sitter on the next Nole’s break point. The latter consolidated the break thanks to some great serving and he was evidently taking over the control. Roger now also held to love, yet he could not really get involved in the subsequent game when Djokovic served out the set to take this highly entertaining, if not spectacular classic to the decider.
Novak always looked like he was going to prevail in the final set and he indeed created a double break cushion by 5-2, taking advantage of both break points he had at his disposal. A triple match point was soon in his hands as well and he did not hesitate to wrap up the proceedings with exactly two hours on the clock to win 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 and reduce the H2H deficit against Federer to 17-20.
“I was pretty happy with my level of play,” Federer stated after the clash. “I wish I could have kept it up for a bit longer and put him under pressure, but Novak battled well to stay in the match in the second set and the third set. I had my chances in the second and third sets. Disappointed right now, but overall it was a good week for me.”
Third seed David Ferrer is determined to defend the Paris Masters title as he overcame the current number one of male tennis Rafael Nadal in straight sets, thus ending a nine-game losing streak against the fellow-Spaniard. He confirmed an early break in the opener to pull 4-1 ahead and almost doubled the lead to seize the set, yet he did not mind eventually taking it on his serve. Resilient Ferrer then fended off four break points in the second game of the set two before stunning the opponent next. Nadal found himself on the brink of defeat in the tenth game, but he took advantage of a couple of the countryman’s misses to make it 5-5. However, Ferrer showed great mental strength to steal the top-ranked player’s serve one more time and ultimately march to a 6-3, 7-5 victory. He escaped six out of seven break point threats over the course of the semi-final and had a significantly higher second serve points won percentage than the top seed (57-39%). Four out of his five triumphs over Nadal came on hard courts.