Djokovic will have a shot at replacing Nadal as the world's No. 1 player if he can defeat Ferrer Sunday before heading off to the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals. Ferrer won the Paris Masters last year.
Djokovic parlayed a hot streak of five-of-six game wins in the second set Saturday and then dominated the third set.
Ferrer beat Nadal for only the fifth time in 25 all-time meetings Saturday. Nadal refused to slink away, however. He broke serve for 5-5 in the second, but a long forehand gave Ferrer another break and he went on to close it out in the next game with a forehand winner.