Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic will meet for the 47th time Saturday with a place in the Paris Masters final at stake.
Federer, chasing a 100th career title, moved a step closer to that goal with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Japan’s Kei Nishikori in Friday’s quarterfinals in the French capital.
Djokovic, who will take over as world number one from Rafael Nadal when the rankings are released Monday, reached the semifinals after recovering from a break down in the final set to defeat Marin Cilic 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 and rack up his 21st consecutive win.
Djokovic leads Federer 24-22 and has not lost to the Swiss maestro since 2015.
However, the Serb star admits that his challenge on Saturday may be compromised by a heavy cold.
“I’m still struggling. It’s kind of a flu. It’s not easy to perform every single day, the energy levels are not as high,” said the second seed.
Cilic got the consolation of booking a place in the ATP Finals in London later this month courtesy of Nishikori’s loss.
Djokovic now has a 30-1 record since the start of Wimbledon with his only loss in that time coming against Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas in the third round of the Toronto Masters in August.
Should he win the title on Sunday, Djokovic will equal Nadal’s record of 33 Masters triumphs.
Federer, the 2011 champion in Paris, last beat Djokovic at the ATP Tour Finals in 2015 and was comprehensively beaten by his long-time rival in the Cincinnati Masters final on the eve of the US Open this year.
He was untroubled by Nishikori on Friday, breaking the Japanese in the ninth game of the first set and opening game of the second.
Saturday’s other semifinal will feature Austrian sixth seed Dominic Thiem – who also booked his place on the ATP Tour finals – against unseeded Russian Karen Khachanov.