<
>

Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal cruise into Paris Masters semifinals

PARIS -- Top-ranked Novak Djokovic made quick work of seventh-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-1, 6-2 on Friday to reach the semifinals of the Paris Masters.

Rafael Nadal did the same with a 7-6 (4), 6-1 victory over 2008 champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Nadal and Djokovic are vying for the year-end No. 1 ranking. Nadal will guarantee it for the fifth time if he wins the Paris Masters for the first time, while Djokovic is chasing a fifth title at Bercy Arena and a sixth year-end finish as No. 1.

Djokovic, who lost to the Greek player in the Shanghai quarterfinals three weeks ago, did not concede a break point to Tsitsipas.

It could have been an even quicker victory, considering Tsitsipas saved three set points at 0-5, 0-40 in the first set and held serve.

"I played one of the best matches of the season. I prepared myself very well for this match," Djokovic said. "[After losing in Shanghai], I went through the videos, understanding what I did well, what I didn't do so well.

"I served well. I read his serve very well, as well. Put him under pressure constantly."

Djokovic, a four-time champion in this event, broke Tsitsipas in the third game of the second set, then held and broke to love for 4-1. Tsitsipas, who dropped his serve four times, appeared to hurt his left ankle when retrieving a shot near the baseline in the second set.

Djokovic, last year's runner-up, next plays US Open semifinalist Grigor Dimitrov, who reached his second semifinal this season by beating Cristian Garin 6-2, 7-5.

Nadal had a more demanding contest against Tsonga, with the first set tiebreak reaching 3-3 after Nadal double faulted. Nadal, however, broke the unseeded Frenchman at the start of the second set and cruised from there.

"It was a tough first set where I had to play at a very high level," Nadal said after beating Tsonga for the 10th time in 14 meetings.

Nadal is guaranteed to finish the year as No. 1 if he wins the Paris Masters for the first time.

Nadal will next face Denis Shapovalov, who routed Gael Monfils 6-2, 6-2 to end the Frenchman's hopes of reaching the season-ending ATP Finals in London.

Nadal is 1-1 in career meetings with Shapovalov.