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Djokovic's epic victory over Federer among the hardest wins

photo by AP photo

Novak Djokovic of Serbia, celebrates after defeating Roger Federer of Switzerland, during their semifinal match of the Paris Masters tennis tournament at the Bercy Arena in Paris, France on Saturday.

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05th-Nov-2018       
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AP, Paris :
Novak Djokovic's latest victory over Roger Federer was among the toughest and best in their epic rivalry, a 7-6 (6), 5-7, 7-6 (3) feast of attacking tennis which had the roaring crowd on their feet and remained in doubt until the very end.
It finally ended, after three hours, when Djokovic moved 6-1 up in the tiebreaker. Federer saved two match points but cracked in a long rally and chopped a backhand into the net.
"We had epic matches throughout our rivalry but this one definitely ranks as one of the best," Djokovic said.
Djokovic's fourth straight win over Federer and 25th in 47 contests sends him into the final against unseeded Russian Karen Khachanov, who has never played in a Masters final.
"This is my best match of the year, that's for sure," Djokovic said, addressing the crowd in French. "Big respect to Roger."
Federer remains one short of 100 career titles.
"When you lose a close match like this you always have regrets," a disappointed Federer said. "That's why I guess I have this face right now."
Djokovic is on a 22-match winning streak and will aim to move level with Rafael Nadal on a record 33 Masters titles.
"Novak is obviously on a roll," Federer said. "You can feel it."
Khachanov, who beat Dominic Thiem 6-4, 6-1, won the Kremlin Cup in Moscow last month for his third career title.
Djokovic, who beat him on the way to the Wimbledon title, is seeking a record-extending fifth Paris Masters title and 73rd title overall.
He was made to work far harder than when he beat Federer in the Cincinnati Masters final in August.
After they hugged at the net, Federer walked off quickly and raised a thumb to the cheering crowd.
"People enjoy the rivalry. We do as well," Federer said. "It's tough and fair, the way it's supposed to be."
Fans got everything they could have hoped for: Two players with a combined 34 Grand Slam titles, 59 Masters titles, and 533 weeks at No. 1 slugging it out at a level of unrelenting yet sublime intensity.
Brilliant one-handed winners on the run from Federer down the line and acute-angle volleys at the net; astonishing elasticity while retrieving from the baseline and laser-beam forehands to the corners from Djokovic.
Federer had 17 aces, while Djokovic got five of his eight in his last three service games of the match, raising his level at the right time.
Djokovic briefly let his volatile temper get the better of him, though, when he had Federer at 15-40 down in the ninth game of the deciding set. Federer saved both break points, and Djokovic whacked his racket into the ground, drawing the first and only boos of a titanic match.

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