Federer's number one hopes take a hit in Paris defeat

Roger Federer's hopes of knocking Novak Djokovic off the top of the ATP world rankings before the end of the year took a hit when he lost to big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic in the Paris Masters quarter-finals on Friday.

The Swiss second seed was beaten 7-6(5), 7-5 and Djokovic later saw off Britain's Andy Murray 7-5, 6-2 to advance to the semi-finals of a tournament he won last year.

Federer had narrowed the points gap on Djokovic in recent weeks but defeat in Bercy halted his charge.

All is not lost for Federer, however, with Djokovic defending a stack of points at the ATP World Tour Finals in London starting on Nov. 9 and the Swiss also able to boost his points tally in the Davis Cup final against France.

"Milos played well. As I said, I always thought it was going to get solved in London," Federer, who beat Raonic in the Wimbledon semi-final this year, told a news conference.

"Whether I am number one at the end of this year or one or two weeks later next year, it doesn't really matter. Novak seems to be fit, anyway."

Seventh seed Raonic kept his hopes of qualifying for the season finale in London alive as he served 21 aces to beat Federer for the first time in seven attempts.

Raonic will face Tomas Berdych in the semi-finals after the Czech booked his place in London with a 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-4 victory over South African Kevin Anderson.

Djokovic, who edged a close first set against Murray before running through the second, will take on either Japanese sixth seed Kei Nishikori or Spanish fourth seed David Ferrer.

Federer appeared relieved that he would have a little more time to prepare for the Tour Finals.

"What this does is I will have a good preparation for London," he said. "It's not that I didn't want to win here, but I knew it was going to be tough from the start. I accept that.

"I'm going to stay on indoors now," continued the Swiss. "Obviously two days more is big. So I'm looking forward to some days off right now, really resting my body to the max in a short period of time. I have plenty of days now to get ready for London, which is kind of nice, as well. So I can actually properly practise for a change as well again."

Federer came into Paris on a 12-match winning streak, taking in back-to-back titles at the Shanghai Rolex Masters and the Swiss Indoors Basel. But he came up against a determined Raonic, who beat the Swiss for the first time in seven attempts to keep alive his bid to qualify for the ATP World Tour Finals.

"Clearly he served well when he had to. I mean, it was a classic indoor match. Few shots here and there went his way today Really credit to him. When I did have the chance, he was there, as well. I didn't do much wrong, either.

"It hurts to lose that way," said Federer, who was hoping to win his 24th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown this week. "But he deserves credit for serving the way he did and doing those passing shots the way he had to do it. In the tie-break in the first set, he took risks and it worked out."

Raonic fired 21 aces as he edged Federer in one hour and 33 minutes. The Toronto native saved a break point at 4-5, 30/40 in the second set before breaking Federer decisively in the following game. It is the first time that Raonic has beaten one of the Top 3.

"Considering all the circumstances around it, I think this was the biggest win for me," Raonic told reporters.

Date: 31st October 2014, Source: ATP and Reuters


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