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Federer Beats del Potro For Djokovic SF In Paris

Paris, France

Federer© Getty ImagesRoger Federer broke a three-match losing streak against Juan Martin del Potro on Friday for a place in the Paris semi-finals.

Fifth seed and 2011 champion Roger Federer will face second seed and 2009 titlist Novak Djokovic in a blockbuster semi-final on Saturday at the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris.

Federer will attempt to improve his 16-13 FedEx ATP Head2Head lead against Djokovic, after he recorded a 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 victory over fourth seed Juan Martin del Potro in one hour and 44 minutes on Friday evening.

"I think we always play well against each other," said Federer of Djokovic. "When we play, it's very athletic. We will both try to be aggressive and take the initiative. So tomorrow, given the surface and the conditions here, it's also going to be the case. It's interesting. I always liked this rivalry with Novak.

"I prefer playing him now than four months ago. I'm more confident now and I believe again in my chances. But if I had played a few weeks ago or a few months ago, I might have thought that I was not sure. I believe I can win more now. I will try my best against him because he's again having a very good year."

Federer, 32, beat a player ranked in the Top 10 of the Emirates ATP Rankings for just the second time this year and advanced to his seventh tour-level semi-final of the season, which includes one ATP World Tour title at the Gerry Weber Open in Halle (d. Youzhny). 

"That's definitely good for my confidence, because those are the kind of wins I need right now," said Federer. "It was clearly a huge victory, giving myself a chance to be in the semis here, and playing Novak is clearly very exciting."

Federer lost just two of his 22 service points in the first set, as he set about to avenge Sunday’s loss to del Potro in the Swiss Indoors Basel final. He hit 17 winners and committed just four unforced errors.

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In a competitive second set, Federer struck a forehand wide at 4-5, 30/30 to gift del Potro one set point opportunity. Though he saved it, another costly unforced error gave del Potro a second chance. A forehand into the net – his 12th unforced error, handed del Potro the 41-minute set.

Momentum swung in Federer’s favour in the decider. The Swiss broke del Potro to love for a 3-2 lead only to see his opponent immediately bounce back with striking a stunning crosscourt forehand pass. Federer won the third straight game against the server, then calmly took a 5-3 lead. He broke del Potro for a third time in the set to earn his 43rd match win of the season.

"I was very happy with today's match," commented Federer. "I think it was a particularly good first set and a bit of a pity I couldn't break early in the second. I think Juan Martin did well to hang around. 

"I think I did well today to start stronger this time around in the third set. It was something I couldn't quite do in Basel. I think I was just overall hitting a better ball again today and moving well and taking good decisions time and time again, so I was very happy with my level of play today."

Del Potro, a winner of four ATP World Tour 500 tournament titles this year, dropped to 15-2 since his US Open second round loss to Lleyton Hewitt. He will next compete at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, which begins at The O2 in London on Monday, alongside Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, David Ferrer, Tomas Berdych, Federer, Stanislas Wawrinka and Richard Gasquet.

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