Novak Djokovic will meet Andy Murray in the BNP Paribas Paris Masters final on Sunday after the Serb exacted a measure of revenge on Stanislas Wawrinka in the French capital.
Wawrinka was the only man to defeat the world number one in a grand-slam event this year, in the French Open final at Roland Garros five months ago.
However, he was unable to clinch another Parisian success on Saturday night as Djokovic claimed a 6-3 3-6 6-0 win to advance to his 14th successive final and to the verge of his 10th title of the season.
The Swiss had sipped coffee during a gruelling quarter-final clash with Rafael Nadal that finished in the early hours of Saturday morning and he appeared fatigued against Djokovic early on.
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The Serb broke early to claim a 3-1 lead and did not face a single break point in cruising to a first-set success.
The second set appeared to be following a similar script when Djokovic claimed another early advantage but, when the Serb was serving to go 3-1 up, a jaded Wawrinka drank from a bottle of water near the advertising hoardings and rallied with back-to-back breaks, the first coming at the fifth attempt to go 4-2 up.
He then fought back from 15-40 down on his own serve to win a fifth successive game before serving to love to level it up at one set apiece.
Djokovic returned in emphatic fashion in the last-set decider, though, as Wawrinka ran out of steam, lashing a forehand way beyond the baseline to confirm the world number one’s victory.
He will face Murray in Sunday’s final after the Briton defeated David Ferrer in straight sets earlier in the day.
It will be the seventh meeting between the two in 2015, with the Briton’s sole success during that time coming in the Rogers Cup final in Toronto in August.
Andy Murray’s superb run of form continued as he beat David Ferrer in straight sets to reach the final of the BNP Paribas Paris Masters.
The British number one, who came through a tough examination against Richard Gasquet in the previous round, prevailed 6-4 6-3 against the Spaniard, who could not keep up with the world number three’s relentless hitting.
It means Murray will face either Novak Djokovic or Stanislas Warwinka in the final as he continues to prepare for the Davis Cup final.
Murray was again on top of his game from the start, racing to three break points in the opening game before securing the break at the second attempt – a pattern he has repeated throughout the tournament.
However after racing to a 3-1 lead, Murray began to make mistakes as Ferrer dug in in trademark fashion, forcing Murray to error on the volley before firing into his feet at break point to draw level.
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The eighth seed could have gone ahead after a superb lob gave him three break points in the following game, but Murray found his range when it mattered with a series of searing groundstrokes, before an ace eventually saved the game and he went on to claim the first set with a break to love.
The pair traded blows in the second set, but Murray reeled off five games in a row to claim the second set 6-3 and seal his place in a 16th Masters final, and his first in the French capital.
After the match, Murray revealed a positive approach had paid off against Ferrer.
He told Sky Sports: “I think I played aggressive tennis and used the net well today. I came forward and was successful at the net.
“There were a couple of periods in the match where I made mistakes, but when you’re trying to play high-risk tennis that can happen.
“I thought that was a pretty good match apart from a few periods when I was making errors.”
If he wins the final on Sunday, Murray is set to finish the season as world number two – a feat he has never achieved, and with the Davis Cup final on the horizon the 28-year-old could be breaking new ground in his career.
“It will be nice as it’s the highest I’ve ever finished, but I’ve still got the Davis Cup to look forward to,” he said.
“I could achieve things I’ve never done before which gives me extra motivation.”
Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina fought back to beat Carla Suarez Navarro in a “crazy” match at the WTA Elite Trophy Friday, grabbing the last place in the semi-finals.
The world No. 20 narrowly lost a marathon, 80-minute first set but she hit back to win 6-7 (4/7), 6-1, 6-3 and reach the last four in the inaugural tournament in Zhuhai.
Svitolina, 21, will play Karolina Pliskova on Saturday, while top seed Venus Williams faces Roberta Vinci in the other semi-final at a purposebuilt arena in southern China.
“It was such a crazy match today,” Svitolina said. “I was playing really well out there, and Carla was playing really well as well. “It was a marathon match and really tough obviously, but I was really happy with how I played today. This is a big win.”
Already qualified Vinci expended little energy in her 6-1, 6-0 defeat of Slovakian alternate Anna Karolina Schmiedlova, who replaced Caroline Wozniacki after the Dane withdrew.
Ex-world No. 1 Wozniacki pulled out with a left wrist injury caused by being unable to hold her racquet properly after she accidentally cut herself with a bread knife.
The WTA Elite Trophy is a new event with a field of 12 and intended as a second-tier version of the WTA Finals between the top eight, which was won last week by Agnieszka Radwanska.