Djokovic reaches final in Paris

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Novak Djokovic reached the final of the Paris Masters for the first time by overpowering second-seeded Rafael Nadal 6-2, 6-3 on Saturday.

Updated: November 15, 2009 08:43 IST
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Paris :

Novak Djokovic reached the final of the Paris Masters for the first time by overpowering second-seeded Rafael Nadal 6-2, 6-3 on Saturday.

The 22-year old Serb, the third seed, will next face Gael Monfils, who kept alive his home crowd's hopes of seeing a Frenchman winning for the second consecutive year with a 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 win over Radek Stepanek of Czech Republic.

Djokovic has a perfect record against Monfils in three previous encounters.

"He is one of the players who is very unpredictable," Djokovic said. "He can play really, really fast. And with a big serve, he can do a lot of damage to opponents."

Djokovic, who defeated top-ranked Roger Federer in the Swiss Indoors final last week, said he played one of his best matches this season to down Nadal.

"I felt so good on the court that all the shots I hit transformed into winners," said Djokovic, who advanced to his 10th final of the year. "There is not much to say about today's performance, except it was perfect, exactly the way I wanted."

Djokovic, who has a 6-14 record against Nadal but beat him for the second consecutive time, was dominant from the start and didn't face a single break point on his way to victory.

"I was aggressive and I took the early control of the match over my opponent and it paid off," Djokovic said. "I was hitting winners from all over the court.

Winning 83 percent of the points played on his first serve, Djokovic, who had 31 winners, took the first set after claiming four games in a row.

The former Australian Open winner, who has a 4-5 record in finals this year, pumped his fist when he broke Nadal to love to lead 4-2 with a backhand winner down the line. He didn't lose a point in the next two games, overwhelming his rival with powerful groundstrokes and subtle drop shots.

Nadal, who lost 14 straight points on his serve and seven consecutive games overall, was broken at love for the third time in a row when Djokovic hit another forehand down the line for a 2-0 lead in the second set.

Djokovic twisted his ankle in the seventh game after firing a crosscourt backhand passing shot but kept his serve and closed out the match with a forehand winner.

Nadal returned to competition in October after a month off with a pulled stomach muscle. He reached the semifinals in Beijing, then the final in Shanghai where he lost to Nikolay Davydenko. His last title victory on the tour came in May at the Rome Masters.

"I finished this tournament much better than I started," said Nadal, who defeated defending champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the quarterfinals after two difficult three-set matches in previous rounds. "The confidence will not go away because I lost 6-2, 6-3 to Djokovic."

Nadal and Djokovic are among the eight players who will face off from November 22-29 in London at the ATP World Tour Finals. The 23-year-old Nadal is also expected to play the Davis Cup final when defending champion Spain will host the Czech Republic on clay in Barcelona from Dec. 4-6.

The match between Monfils and Stepanek was plagued with a flurry of unforced errors from both players.

"I found a solution by digging deep in my mental resources," Monfils said. "I gave the proof that I'm a great player."

Stepanek, a former finalist in Paris, took a 2-0 lead in the first set but Monfils broke right back when the 13th-seeded Czech missed two consecutive forehand volleys.

Monfils broke again in the fifth game before clinching the set when Stepanek sent a backhand wide.

In the second set, Monfils served for the match at 5-4 but Stepanek broke him twice in row thanks to strong play at the net.

Monfils and Stepanek traded breaks early in the decider and then held serve until Monfils broke in the ninth game when Stepanek missed a volley.

"I'm burnt out, but tomorrow it will be a fierce mental battle," said Monfils, who will play the first Masters 1000 final of his career against Djokovic. "Tomorrow I will give my life."

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  • Tennis
  • Novak Djokovic

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