Preview: Will Novak Stop Roger's Push Towards 100th Title?
Since the start of the 2011 season in which he rose to No. 1 in the ATP Rankings, Djokovic is 18-9 against Federer, with two wins each at the Australian Open, Wimbledon and US Open. Djokovic also defeated Federer in the 2013 Rolex Paris Masters semi-finals. Regardless of Saturday’s result, the Serbian will return to No. 1 on Monday. If he beats Federer, Djokovic will eliminate the Swiss from contention for World No. 1 in the year-end rankings. Djokovic is two wins shy of tying Rafael Nadal’s record with 33 ATP Masters 1000 titles. Federer is two wins shy of his 100th career title.
"I'm always excited to play against him, particularly because it's been a long time [since we've played] and I feel I can just go out there and see what happens,” Federer said. “I came here to Paris with no expectations and figuring that I'd just play a match or two, thinking I'd probably lose because I was too tired after Basel.
"My priority is London, but now I am so far into the tournament I'll just give it a go and hope things click for me. I'll have to play well when it matters most. He's on an incredible streak again , but I hope I can worry him a little bit tomorrow."
In the first semi-final of the day, meeting for the first time are World No. 8 Dominic Thiem and No. 18 Karen Khachanov. Thiem joined Djokovic and Federer in the Nitto ATP Finals field when Kei Nishikori lost on Friday. The 25-year-old Austrian is attempting to reach his third ATP Masters 1000 final and capture the biggest title of his career. Khachanov is appearing in his second ATP Masters 1000 semi-final after falling to No. 1 Nadal in Toronto on 11 August. The 22-year-old Russian entered Paris with a 3-16 record against Top 10 opponents. If he defeats Thiem, Khachanov will have earned three Top 10 wins in as many days after beating No. 9 John Isner on Thursday and No. 5 Alexander Zverev on Friday.
- Joshua Rey contributed to this story