PARIS, Nov 1 (Reuters) - World number one Novak Djokovic took a big step toward becoming the first player to retain the Paris Masters title when he saw off Japanese Kei Nishikori 6-2 6-3 on Saturday to set up a final with Milos Raonic.
Earlier, seventh-seeded Canadian Raonic qualified for his second Masters Series final by downing Czech Tomas Berdych 6-3 3-6 7-5.
“I haven’t dropped a set and I feel confident about my game,” Djokovic told reporters.
The Serb, who is on a 26-match winning streak indoors, was never threatened by Nishikori who beat him at the U.S. Open but lacked energy after battling for almost three hours late on Friday to dispose of David Ferrer in three sets.
Victory for Djokovic also meant he extended his lead over Roger Federer in the battle for the year-end number one spot.
He raced into a 4-1 lead and never looked back, effortlessly sending his opponent to every corner of the court.
Following an early exchange of breaks, Djokovic stole Nishikori’s serve again in the sixth game of the second set and it proved enough. “It was obvious that Kei — because of fatigue maybe finishing late last night or a little injury — he didn’t serve as well as he can,” said the holder.
The big-serving Raonic, runner-up at the Montreal Masters last year, followed up his quarter-final defeat of second seed Federer by beating Berdych, the 2005 Paris champion.
After firing down 21 aces against the Swiss, the Canadian had to wait until the fifth game to serve his first on Saturday but by that time he had already broken Berdych for a 3-1 lead.
Although the fifth seed read his serve pretty well, Raonic bagged the opening set when his opponent’s sliced backhand sailed long.
Berdych broke in the second game of the second set as Raonic netted a backhand.
The third set was a much more balanced affair until the Canadian sealed the win as Berdych netted a backhand before smashing his racket on the ground in frustration having made four consecutive unforced errors, including two straight double faults.
“I just totally messed it up with the last game,” said Berdych. “It was definitely the worst game I played in this tournament this year.”
Editing by Tony Jimenez