Novak Djokovic defeated eighth seed Andy Murray to maintain his push to end 2014 as No. 1 in the world on Friday.
The top seed earned 58 per cent of points on his opponents’ serve and fired 12 winners to seal a 7-5 6-2 win over Murray in 1 hour 41 minutes and set up a last 4 match against Japan’s Kei Nishikori.
The defending champion, who also triumphed in Bercy, Paris, in 2009, will be aiming for his fourth Masters 1000 crown this year following previous successes in Indian Wells, Miami and Rome.
Following a lengthy first set with little separating both players as the Serb closed it out with a late break of serve, Murray broke for an early 2-1 lead. Djokovic broke back immediately before taking the next five straight games to secure his fourth victory in 2014 over the Scot all on hard court.
“The first set was very close,” Djokovic told Sky Sports. “I had some a few break point opportunities and held my service games pretty well, then I got a crucial break at the end of the first. He was a break up in the second, but then he hit some double faults and allowed me back in. After that, I started swinging through and felt much better.
“I knew he had played seven weeks in a row, trying to qualify for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. He won three titles and played some great tennis. I knew if I could win the first set, I felt I had a little edge over him physically and could take my opportunities when presented.”
The Wimbledon champion is faourite to claim the year-end No.1 ranking after second seed Roger Federer lost to Milos Raonic in straight sets.
“Obviously it helps the battle between Roger and me that I progressed to the semis and he didn’t,” said Djokovic. “But I’m trying not to think about the calculations. I have to focus on my own matches and try to play as well as I did in my first couple of matches of this tournament. Hopefully I can finish the year as No. 1.”
No. 6 seed Nishikori ousted 2012 champion and last year’s runner up David Ferrer 3-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 to claim his 52nd win of the season
The win confirmed Nishikori’s passage to the 2014 ATP World Tour Finals, thus guaranteed Feder’s conqueror Raonic a place in the season-ending tournament a place as well, and halted Ferrer in his bid for a fifth consecutive slot in London.