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PARIS: Novak Djokovic edged out Holger Rune on Friday to avenge his defeat in last year’s Paris Masters final and reach the last four, while Stefanos Tsitsipas set up a meeting with Grigor Dimitrov.

World number one Djokovic missed a match point in the second set but eventually claimed a 7-5, 6-7 (3/7), 6-4 win over Denmark’s Rune in the quarter-finals after more than two-and-three-quarter hours on court at Bercy Arena.

The Serbian star is playing in his first ATP Tour event since lifting a record 24th Grand Slam title in New York in September.

Djokovic, the record six-time Paris champion, will face Andrey Rublev for a place in the final after the Russian defeated Alex de Minaur 4-6, 6-3, 6-1.

“It was quite a similar match to last year’s final, it was anybody’s game in every set,” Djokovic said.

“I played an awful tie-break in the second set, probably the worst one this year. But again credit to him for staying mentally tough and playing solid.

“We have similar games. Move well, defend well and all-round players.”

The 36-year-old claimed his second career victory against Rune, who is now working with Djokovic’s former coach Boris Becker, after suffering two successive defeats by the world number seven.

“It was strange seeing Boris in the opposing box,” added Djokovic. “I wish Holger and him all the best.”

Djokovic snatched an opening set which was largely dominated by serve with a break in the 12th game.

He saw a match point come and go on the Rune serve when leading 5-4 in the second set, before the 20-year-old went on to produce a series of brilliant points in a tie-break to force a decider.

But Djokovic was clinical in the third set and a single break in the third game was enough to take him through.

Djokovic has now won 16 successive matches since losing to Carlos Alcaraz in the Wimbledon final.

He has won all eight of his previous Paris Masters semi-finals.

Tsitsipas powers through

Tsitsipas powered his way into the semis with a dominant 6-3, 6-4 victory over Karen Khachanov.

It was the 300th win of his career and gave the Greek, ranked sixth in the world, a semi-final match-up with Dimitrov who overcame Hubert Hurkacz 6-1, 4-6, 6-4.

Tsitsipas, who also reached the last four a year ago when he lost to Djokovic, has progressed to the same stage without dropping a set.

“It’s working well. I feel like I can mix up play,” said Tsitsipas.

Tsitsipas has already qualified for the end-of-season ATP Finals as one of the year’s top eight players but defeat for Hurkacz against Dimitrov ruled the Pole out of contention.

The last two places for the event in Turin later this month will be taken by Alexander Zverev and Rune.

In the last few weeks, the 32-year-old Dimitrov has reached the semi-finals in Chengdu, a quarter-final in Beijing and the semi-finals of the Masters event in Shanghai.

His path to the last four in Paris included a shock defeat of world number three Daniil Medvedev in the second round.

“My body is feeling well for now, that’s the most important thing,” said Dimitrov.

“My head is good. If I’m able to play like that on a consistent basis throughout every game, I put myself in a position to do better.”

Dimitrov last reached the semi-finals in Paris in 2019 when he lost to Djokovic.

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