Federer is chasing his 100th ATP title. Djokovic has won 20 straight matches. Something's gotta give.
If Roger Federer is to win his 100th career ATP title this week, he'll have to get past the hottest player in the world.
Federer booked a spot in the Paris Masters 1000 semifinals with a comfortable 6-4, 6-4 win over Kei Nishikori. His reward? A date with Novak Djokovic, who beat Marin Cilic 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 to extend his win streak to 20.
"I hope things click for me, I have to play well when it matters the most," Federer told Tennis Channel after the win. He also said he didn't expect to win more than one or two matches this week, and that his focus is on the year-end finals in London.
"[Djokovic] is on an incredible streak again, so I hope I can worry him again tomorrow."
Djokovic, who will return to world No. 1 when the new rankings are released Monday, saw his streak of consecutive sets won end at 30 when he dropped the opener to Cilic. He also let on that he's struggling with flu-like symptoms this week as he chases his record-extending fifth Paris Masters title.
The Serb will still enter Saturday's semifinal as a favorite, both because of the form he carries and his recent success against Federer. Djokovic holds a 24-22 record over Federer and has won their last three meetings, most recently beating the 20-time Grand Slam champion in straight sets in the finals of the Cincinnati Masters.
Djokovic, 31, also won the only prevoius meeting between the two at the Paris Masters, a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory in the 2013 semifinals.
The two men combined for three of the four Slam titles this year, with Federer winning the Australian Open and Djokovic claiming Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.
Should Federer find a way to get past Djokovic then beat the winner of the other semifinal—between two of tennis' best young players in Karen Khachanov and Dominic Thiem—he would join Jimmy Connors (109) as the only player with triple-digit ATP singles titles.
The 37-year old has an eight-match win streak of his own, having won the Swiss Indoor title for a ninth time last week.