Shanghai - Novak Djokovic thrashed a
misfiring Andy Murray on Saturday to set up a Shanghai Masters final against
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga as the world number one guns for his 10th title in China.
Djokovic's blockbuster semi-final with
second-ranked Murray was hotly anticipated but the 6-1, 6-3 result was
anti-climactic after Tsonga's thrilling upset of Rafael Nadal earlier.
The mercurial Frenchman recovered from an
embarrassing 'bagel' in the second set to win 6-4, 0-6, 7-5, pulling off one of
his trademark athletic dives to bring up match point.
But Tsonga now faces the steepest of
challenges against Djokovic, who moves into his 13th straight final on a
16-match winning streak, and has never lost a final in China.
Djokovic had it unexpectedly easy against
Murray, who was shaky on his serve and bad-tempered with it, double-faulting to
yield the first of three breaks in a forgettable first set.
Murray recovered with a break at the start
of the second but crowd noises seemed to distract him as he double-faulted and
then lost out in a helter-skelter rally as Djokovic broke back.
Murray's sixth double fault put him in deep
trouble as he was broken to go 1-3 down, and although he saved a match point at
2-5, a thumping Djokovic backhand saw him off in the next game.
As they played, Tsonga was already
celebrating one of his biggest wins this year, while Nadal was happy to see
signs of life in his game after a disappointing season.
"I was there until the end. Was not
(my) day to win. I just need to adjust a little bit a few more things. But in
general I have to be happy," Nadal said.
"I believe there is no doubt that the
confidence is higher now than a couple of months ago."
The Spaniard's serve had only been broken
once all week but Tsonga finally pierced his armour in the fifth game with a
smoking backhand winner before he totted up a one-set lead.
But Tsonga was all at sea in the second set
and with double-faults at critical moments, Nadal broke three times to 'bagel'
the Frenchman 6-0 and level the match.
Tsonga regathered himself for a tight
deciding set and he broke for 6-5 when Nadal fired into the net.
Serving for the match, Tsonga dived
full-length for a forehand volley and then got up to parry the scrambling
Nadal's reply and bring up match point, which the Spaniard lost tamely.
"I will play against a very good
player. I know it's going to be difficult. But it's for me an opportunity to
hold a new trophy anyway because I'm in final," Tsonga said.
"It's one match. If I win it, I'm the
champion this week. I'll take that like an opportunity, so I will give