Tennis news - Roger Federer sweeps aside Kei Nishikori to set up Novak Djokovic clash
Roger Federer beat Kei Nishikori 6-4 6-4 in the quarter finals of the Paris Masters to set up a blockbuster semi-final against new world number one Novak Djokovic.
The 37-year-old has 99 ATP ranking titles and is closing in on his 100th after the win against Nishikori.
Federer continued his good form after defeating Federico Fognini in the previous round as he heads towards a match-up with an old rival.
Federer, who has not competed in Paris at either the French Open or indoor Masters since 2015, received a standing ovation after making a winning comeback in Bercy following his late decision to compete after his 99th triumph in Basel on Sunday.
Before and after defeating Fabio Fognini 6-4 6-3 to move into the quarter-finals, he looked touched by the reception in the arena and responded by "saluting" them in a post-match on-court address.
"I hope you have understood that the French public missed you very much," one reporter told him after his hit-and-miss but eventually comfortable win, to which Federer responded: "It was wonderful to have such a welcome from the French public.
"The standing ovation at the end was wonderful as well. I wanted to thank them, to salute them. It was something that is important to me. I did win, so I had the mike, I could talk to the public.
"I've had very intense moments at the French Open (where he won in 2009) and here (where he won the 2011 Masters). Everybody knows that I'm very pleased to do my comeback here, but it is also hard to prove it on the court."
He said he was trying to play in Paris without pressure and that his major concern was regaining the ATP World Tour title in London later this month.
"If it turns out well (this week), good. If it doesn't, well, too bad. I tried. It's good to play in a relaxed manner for once, to find something in my game that could help me out for London," he said.
"My objective is London. If I can do well here in Paris and beat him (Novak Djokovic), all the better. But I'm not there yet. We'll just wait and see."
He was able to complete a straightforward straight-sets victory in France after taking the first set 6-4.
The pair served out until the ninth game when Federer finally found the break.
ATP-Paris, Roger FedererGetty Images
In the second the Swiss broke in the opening game and controlled the match from that point onwards as he went on to secure victory.
Federer received two walkovers in the opening two rounds and has looked in fine form throughout the tournament.
The victory for the Australian Open champion means he will face Djokovic in the next round, who beat Marin Cilic earlier in the day.
Djokovic is set to become the new world number one after Rafael Nadal withdrew from the event at Paris.
The winner of the match between the two tennis giants will face either Dominic Thiem or Karen Khachanov in the final.