Third-seeded Novak Djokovic reached the semifinals of the Paris Masters for the first time by beating Robin Soderling 6-4, 1-6, 6-3.
Djokovic, who won his fourth title of the year last week in Basel with a victory over Roger Federer in the final, will next face Rafael Nadal, who beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-5, 7-5.
Djokovic’s win ended the ninth-seeded Soderling’s hopes of making the eight-man ATP World Tour Finals later this month in London. Tsonga and Fernando Verdasco are the two players left in contention for the last available spot at the season-ending event.
Verdasco will qualify for the ATP finals if Tsonga fails to defend his title here.
Djokovic broke Soderling in the third game and took a 4-2 lead in the first set. Soderling leveled at 4-4 after easily chasing down Djokovic’s drop shot for a forehand winner.
But the 25-year-old Swede alternated between powerful groundstrokes and unforced errors, and was broken at love in the next game. Djokovic saved two break points in his next service game and took the set when Soderling sent a backhand wide, prompting him to break his racket in disgust.
Soderling, a French Open finalist this year, used his strong forehand to take a 2-0 lead in the second set after Djokovic hit a backhand long to lose his serve. The Swede added another break before serving out the set.
The two players held their serves in a tense third set until the eighth game, when Soderling made two unforced errors and then double-faulted to give Djokovic three break points. The 22-year-old Serb converted the second when Soderling sent a backhand into the net.