PARIS: In-form third seed Novak Djokovic reached the ATP Paris Masters final after eliminating second seed Rafael Nadal with a comprehensive 6-2, 6-3 victory at the Bercy arena here today.
Djokovic, who won the Basel tournament last weekend, looked in control from the very start of the match and encountered little resistance from an uncharacteristically subdued Nadal, who is without a title since May. The Serb will play the winner of the second semi-final between French 15th seed Gael Monfils and Czech 13th seed Radek Stepanek in Sunday's final.
Djokovic claimed the first break of serve for a 4-2 lead with an inch-perfect backhand winner down the line after an entertaining opening in which neither player was afraid to come to the net. The 23-year-old world number three then secured the first set in Nadal's next service game with a backhand return that let the Spaniard rooted to the spot.
Nadal had already proved his durability in the tournament by seeing off five match points in his second-round win over Nicolas Almagro and surviving another match point against 14th-seeded countryman Tommy Robredo in round three. Djokovic, though, is on top of his game at the moment and he broke early in set two for a 2-0 lead with a punishing forehand winner.
Nadal, whose last title came when he beat Djokovic in Rome Masters final, was struggling to contend with his opponent's groundstrokes but managed to end a run of seven lost games by holding serve for 3-1. It was to prove nothing more than a stay of execution, however, as Djokovic served out to reach his 10th final of 2009, sealing victory with his 31st winner of a comfortable afternoon.