Novak Djokovic pounded Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-1, 6-2 on Friday, taking just 59 minutes to reach his sixth semi-final at the Paris Masters.
The top-seeded Serb, who will lose the No. 1 ranking he has held for exactly a year to Rafael Nadal in Monday’s rankings, stayed in the chase to possibly seize the prize back from his Spanish rival at the eight-man ATP Finals in London starting on November 10.
The chase for the last qualifying place in the year-end showpiece will be decided later here.
Djokovic, who was playing in his eighth quarter-final at the event, broke Tsitsipas five times while never facing a break point against his own serve.
The victory meant revenge for Djokovic after going down to the Greek in Shanghai last month.
“I played one of the best matches of the season. I prepared myself very well for this match,” Djokovic said.
“I lost to Stefanos about three weeks ago in Shanghai. And obviously I went through the videos and understanding on what I did well, what I didn’t do so well, what I can do better.
“I managed to really start off well and didn’t really allow him too many opportunities to really come back.
“I just went for a lot of shots and it worked well. I served well, and read his serve very well. I put him under pressure constantly.
“It was a great match.”
The Serb takes an 8-1 record into his Saturday contest with Grigor Dimitrov, who defeated Chile’s Christian Garin 6-2, 7-5.
Djokovic,with 76 career trophies. now owns 35 wins at the indoor Paris tournament played across the city from Roland Garros.
Gael Monfils lost his chance for a last-gasp spot in the ATP Finals as the French showman collapsed 6-2, 6-2 against Denis Shapovalov, whom he beat in five sets at the US Open only weeks ago..
The Canadian left-hander’s victory in 61 minutes buried the dream of Monfils to collect the eighth and last spot for next month’s year-ender.
Shapovalov drove a winner into the far corner to earn three match points and finished of his demolition job with a fifth ace.
Berrettini, who lost in the second round, now gains a year-end place for the first time in his career.
Rafael Nadal ended the dream of any French win on the day, sending out Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6(4), 6-1, marking the first time for Italy since 1978.
The Spaniard continues his duel with Novak Djokovic for year-end No. 1 honours.
Monfils was hardly the energetic player who came back from a set down in each of his previous two matches, thrilling French crowds at the Bercy arena.
The 33-year-old never had a break point and lost his own serve four times in the heavy loss.
He admitted the challenge was too much. “My aim was to end up in the top 10, and of course the London Masters was another goal, but it was too hard.
“I didn’t have the right weapons to outpace him. I don’t have the same level as that I had last summer.
“I have an average level, which enabled me to win some matches and brought me up to here.
“But Denis is on a roll. He plays very well. So it’s hard to play such a great player.”
Shapo said Berrettini is now in his debt: “He better give me a bottle of wine or something or a small gift,” the winner joked
Watching the match was fellow Canadian and US open winner Bianca Andreescu, who stopped over on her way back from the WTA Finals in Shenzhen, where she was forced to withdraw midway through the group stage with a knee injury..
“I’m really happy for Matteo and sad for Gaël. They’re both unbelievable players, unbelievable people.
So it’s both happy and sad,’ Shapovalov said..
“But at the end of the day, it’s nothing I can do. You know, I’m going on the court,
“I tried my best, and I was able to play really good tennis.”
Nadal, who last played a semi here in 2013. needed 96 minutes to reach the final four, breaking twice.
He would clinch the year-end top spot if he wins against Shapovalov and Djokovic loses his match.
Nadal’s victory was his 51st of the season after defeating Tsonga for the 10th time in 14 matches, and is one of five ATP players to hit fifty wins in 2019