Andy Murray's recent run of success was halted yesterday by the world number one, Novak Djokovic at the Paris Masters. The British number one's winning streak had reached eleven matches in a row prior to the match but he could not get the better of his nemesis. The Serbian ran out a comfortable winner in the end (7-5, 6-2) after a tight first set to clinch his place in the semi- finals, as he seeks to retain the title he won twelve months ago. Murray does however move up to fourth place in the provisional rankings above Stan Wawrinka, thanks to his recent performances and his quarter- final achievement in Paris. Murray was holding Djokovic at 5-5 in the first set before being broken just as it seemed that a tie-break was imminent, and held an early break in the second as he looked to get back into the match. However, the number one is where he is in the rankings for good reason and demonstrated that ability as he powered on to take the second 6-2. Murray will at least be thankful for a short break now to recharge his energy levels ahead of the season finale in London.
Roger Federer was a surprise casualty in the quarter-finals, as he found Canada's Milos Raonic too strong for him in a straight sets victory, having to contend with a number of 140mph serves from the giant at the other side of the net. After the first set had gone to a tie- break that the number seven seed took 7-5, there was no let up in the serving power of the 6ft 5ins Raonic in the second as he took it (in 'normal' time) 7-5 to dash Federer's immediate hopes of going above Djokovic in the current world rankings (although a strong performance in the ATP World Tour Finals in London could yet leave him top by the year end, depending on how Djokovic himself fares). Raonic needed the victory to have any chance of making London and demonstrated what an asset he could be there if he qualifies. The Swiss number two seed played solidly enough throughout the match, but came up against a man in great form who for once held his nerve when the opportunities arose.
Raonic now plays Tomas Berdych in the semi-finals, after the battle of the big servers was won by the Czech player as he overcame Kevin Anderson in three sets after losing the first set on a tie-break, to end up with a 6-7, 6-4, 6-4 victory. Berdych will be well aware of his next opponent's ability and will not only have to contend with his strong serve but also the powerful backhand return that caused Federer problems.
Djokovic will play Kei Nishikori in the other semi-final in Paris, after the Japanese player came through a tough three setter against the resilient David Ferrer of Spain. The first set went to Ferrer 6-3, but the match turned Nishikori's way when he hung on in the tight second set to take it on a tie-break and then managed to break his opponent's serve in the third to clinch the match (6-4 in the third). #Tennis