Novak Djokovic continued his push to finish 2014 as year-end World No. 1, ousting eighth seed Andy Murray 7-5, 6-2 on Friday at the BNP Paribas Masters. The two-time Paris champion will vie for a fourth ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final appearance this year when he takes on Kei Nishikori in the semis.
The Serb, a champion in the French capital in 2009 (d. Monfils) and 2013 (d. Ferrer) will be seeking to claim a fourth Masters 1000 crown this year following triumphs in Indian Wells, Miami and Rome. His fight for year-end No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings took a boost earlier on Friday when No. 2 Roger Federer fell to Milos Raonic in straight sets.
"The first set was very close," Djokovic told Sky Sports. "I had some a few break point opportunities and held my service games pretty well, then I got a crucial break at the end of the first. He was a break up in the second, but then he hit some double faults and allowed me back in. After that, I started swinging through and felt much better.
"I knew he had played seven weeks in a row, trying to qualify for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. He won three titles and played some great tennis. I knew if I could win the first set, I felt I had a little edge over him physically and could take my opportunities when presented."
"Obviously it helps the battle between Roger and me that I progressed to the semis and he didn't," said Djokovic. "But I'm trying not to think about the calculations. I have to focus on my own matches and try to play as well as I did in my first couple of matches of this tournament. Hopefully I can finish the year as No. 1."