SHANGHAI • World No. 1 Novak Djokovic continued his dominance of the Chinese hard courts by swatting aside a misfiring Andy Murray 6-1, 6-3 to reach the final of tennis' Shanghai Masters yesterday.
The Serb will take on Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the final today after the 16th seed recorded a 6-4, 0-6, 7-5 win over Rafael Nadal, his first in almost four years against the Spaniard.
The 30-year-old Frenchman was delighted with his scintillating display featuring 40 winners, mainly from a fearsome forehand, but will have to find yet another gear if he is to upset Djokovic today.
The 10-time Grand Slam champion is aiming for his third Shanghai title on the back of securing his sixth China Open crown last week.
Murray, twice a champion in Shanghai, knew a fast start was necessary if he was to upset his opponent but he did just the opposite.
The world No. 2 served a paltry 43 per cent of first serves in the opening set and had four double faults and 17 unforced errors as he was broken in three straight games to concede the opener.
He rebounded at the start of the second by breaking Djokovic to 15 and hustled and harried in trademark fashion. But the small bit of momentum was lost as he gave away his next service game.
The Serb was imperious from the back of the court and broke again before serving out comfortably to improve his head-to-head record to 20-9 over Murray.
Tsonga too has a fondness for the courts in Shanghai and will be hopeful of repeating yesterday's form when he takes on the Serb.
He fired 11 aces to record his first win over Nadal since the 2011 ATP World Tour Finals, moving up to ninth in his bid to qualify again for the eight-man, end-of-season championship in London.
Agnieszka Radwanska moved within one win of netting a spot at the Oct 25-Nov 1 WTA Finals in Singapore after thrashing Karolina Pliskova 6-3, 6-1 in the semi-finals of the Tianjin Open yesterday.
Radwanska will take on Danka Kovinic in today's showpiece after the latter reached her first WTA final by beating Bojana Jovanovski 6-4, 6-7 (2-7), 6-2.
World No. 6 Radwanska can join Simona Halep, Garbine Muguruza, Maria Sharapova and Petra Kvitova in securing a place in the eight- woman WTA Finals field by winning her second title of the year and 16th of her career today.
Jelena Jankovic all but ended Venus Williams' slim hopes of qualifying for the WTA Finals by winning the battle of former world No. 1s in the Hong Kong Open semi-finals yesterday. Jankovic prevailed 6-4, 7-5 to set up a final showdown with Angelique Kerber. The latter beat Sam Stosur 6-2, 6-2 and is now one win away from securing her place in the WTA Finals.
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
ATP SHANGHAI MASTERS
Final: StarHub Ch201, 4.30pm