Djokovic, Dimitrov enter semis; Pliskova moves up in Shenzhen - GulfToday

Djokovic, Dimitrov enter semis; Pliskova moves up in Shenzhen

Djokovic, Dimitrov enter semis; Pliskova moves up in Shenzhen

Novak Djokovic returns to Stefanos Tsitsipas during their quarter-final match of the Paris Masters on Friday. Agence France-Presse

Novak Djokovic produced a magnificent performance to thrash seventh seed Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-1, 6-2 on Friday and set up a Paris Masters semi-final against Grigor Dimitrov.

The 32-year-old, battling Rafael Nadal for the year-end world number one spot, dispatched Greek star Tsitsipas in only 58 minutes.

The 16-time Grand Slam champion went into the match with a 2-1 losing record against Tsitsipas, but put the youngster in his place with a commanding victory.

The crushing defeat ended Tsitsipas’ run of three consecutive semi-finals and dealt a blow to his confidence ahead of his maiden appearance at the season-ending championships, which start on Nov. 10.

Djokovic holds an 8-1 winning head-to-head record against Dimitrov, who saw off unseeded Chilean Cristian Garin 6-2, 7-5 earlier in the day.

Former world number three Dimitrov last reached the semis at a Masters tournament in Monte Carlo in 2018, but has rediscovered his form in recent weeks after heading into the US Open ranked 78th.

The Bulgarian became the lowest-ranked player to reach a Grand Slam semi-final since 2008 at Flushing Meadows, before losing to Daniil Medvedev.

Dimitrov has now won three consecutive matches in straight sets at Bercy, where he had lost in the third round in each of the previous six years.

World number 42 Garin, playing in his first Masters quarter-final, served for the second set at 5-4, but the 28-year-old Dimitrov reeled off three straight games to claim an impressive victory.

Meanwhile, Karolina Pliskova overcame a mid-match stutter to book a semi-final showdown with world number one Ashleigh Barty after a three-set victory over Simona Halep at the WTA Finals on Friday.

The world number two lost six straight games in the second and third sets but eventually prevailed 6-0, 2-6, 6-4 in one hour and 43 minutes to secure the Purple Group’s second spot.

Defending champion Elina Svitolina will play Belinda Bencic in the other semi-final after she capped off an unbeaten round robin campaign with a 7-5, 7-6 (12/10) victory over late replacement Sofia Kenin.

Pliskova believed she would be the underdog against Barty. “She’s having a great year, so it’s going to be super tough,” she said.

An aggressive Pliskova started red hot against Halep winning 13 of the first 16 points en route to blitzing through the first set in just 20 minutes.

Halep appeared rejuvenated after receiving a pep talk from coach Darren Cahill between sets as the match flipped.

The Wimbledon champion finally hit the scoreboard by breaking to open the second set and she rediscovered her touch, hitting menacing slices to rattle Pliskova.

Halep broke Pliskova’s suddenly tentative serve three times to force a decider and her momentum continued in the third set to jump out to a 2-0 lead.

The twists continued with Pliskova regaining control but she was unable to serve it out in the ninth game.

Agence France-Presse

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