Stefanos Tsitsipas won two of his first three ATP Head2Head matchups against Novak Djokovic, but the Serbian has owned their rivalry since then, winning seven straight matches. Djokovic will now put that streak — and two others — on the line when he meets the Greek in Saturday’s Rolex Paris Masters semi-finals.
Djokovic is the underdog by seeding in Bercy, but not by form. The sixth seed carries dual 12-match win streaks into the semis, both overall and at the ATP Masters 1000 event, where he has won titles in his past two appearances in 2019 and 2021. He has not dropped a set this week, cruising past Maxime Cressy, Karen Khachanov and Lorenzo Musetti as he looks to win his third straight ATP Tour trophy after triumphs in Tel Aviv and Astana.
“No one is unbeatable, but I’ve had plenty of success on this court and I think every single year that I come back, the confidence level is higher,” the six-time champion said after reaching his eighth semi-final at the event. “I just like the conditions, even though they are different from last year. I think I adjusted very well. Right from the start I was really playing my best tennis in the first match and I continued doing that. Hopefully I will not derail myself and will keep going in the same direction.”
Djokovic was particulaly dominant off his forehand wing against Musetti, firing eight winners in a 6-0, 6-3 victory. He received a forehand Shot Quality grade of 9.2 out of 10 for the match. (Learn more about Shot Quality.)
Tsitsipas also brings a perfect 6-0 set record into the semis following wins against Daniel Evans, Corentin Moutet and Tommy Paul. The fifth seed is seeking his third final in four events after reaching the title matches in Astana and Stockholm. He dropped a 6-3, 6-4 decision to Djokovic in the Astana final and has not beaten the Serbian since 2019.
Asked how he would snap his losing streak against the Serbian, Tsitsipas said that he would fight the urge to overplay against the man who spent a record 373 weeks as World No. 1 during his career.
“I need to show the same consistency,” he said. “I have weapons that I can use. But in the past I feel I have used too much spin or power. It’s important that I stay at a medium level and not overdo it. It will be a physical match and I will need to move well.”
The 24-year-old, who leads the ATP Tour with 60 wins this season, has an outside chance to finish 2022 atop the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. He has moved up two places to No. 3 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings this week, and now sits fewer than 1,500 points behind World No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz. He could move within 830 points of the Spaniard by winning his third tour-level title of the year in Paris, with an additional 1,500 points on offer in Turin for an undefeated champion.
Saturday’s second semi-final is a rematch of last week’s Basel final between Felix Auger-Aliassime and Holger Rune. Like Djokovic, the Canadian also brings an impressive streak into the weekend: He has won 16 straight matches with titles in Florence, Antwerp and Basel.
Rune has also been in blistering form of late, with Auger-Aliassime the only man who can better his 17-2 indoor record over the past two months. The Stockholm champion’s only losses in that stretch came against Marc-Andrea Huesler in the Sofia final and against Auger-Aliassime in Basel.
“I lost to him last week, but hopefully tomorrow is going to be different,” the #NextGenATP Dane said, looking ahead to the pair’s second meeting. “I know what happened last week and I can take a lot away from that and do a lot different tomorrow. I’m super pumped and super excited for what’s going to happen.”
Auger-Aliassime is through to his second ATP Masters 1000 semi-final, three years after his initial breakthrough in Miami in 2019.
“It’s crazy, because I remember like yesterday making my first semi-final in Miami,” said the Canadian. “It was so unexpected, and I thought at the time it was fine, making a semi-final in a Masters, [and that I] would do it many times in the future.
“Then it took three years for me to get back there and it just proves how tough it is at this level to reach the semi-finals or better at these events. So I’m really happy that I was able to do it.”
Set to make his debut at the Nitto ATP Finals, which begins 13 November, Auger-Aliassime has a chance to better Rafael Nadal’s season-high win streak of 20 matches before the year is up.