Novak Djokovic kept his foot on the gas pounding Andy Murray today 6-1, 6-3 in the semifinals at the Shanghai Masters. It was one of Djokovic’s best performances against his longtime rival who he now leads 20-9 winning 8 of the last 9.
“It’s the best match of the tournament at the right time against a player who was in form and one of my biggest rivals,” said Djokovic. “He’s a player I lost to a couple months ago in the Montreal final. Obviously there was a lot at stake. Whenever we play against each other, it’s always exciting. It’s always a huge challenge. But I was ready. I came in from the very first point with the right intensity, played great, on a very high level.
“I had a very high first-serve percentage throughout the entire match. He had a very low one. I think that also made a difference in terms of the scoreline.”
Murray wasn’t terrible, he just couldn’t compete with the Serb.
“It was tough,” said Murray. “I’m obviously disappointed with the way I played. I served poorly in the first set especially. You can’t afford to do that against Novak with the way he’s playing just now, the amount of confidence he has in his game, and the conditions over here. You have to do better than that.
“I made it extremely difficult for myself. I just couldn’t get myself in it. Even the second set, got that break at the beginning and was hoping to kick on a little bit. Just didn’t serve well at all tonight. It was tough.”
In the final Sunday, Djokovic will test Jo-Wilfried Tsonga who ended Rafael Nadal’s hopes with a 6-4, 0-6, 7-5 victory.
“I’m really happy to work hard because I know I can count on my body,” said Tsonga. “It’s something great for me because it was not always like this. Today I’m a lot stronger than I was maybe a few years ago.”
Despite the loss, Nadal had a good run in Asia reaching the Beijing final and beating Top 10 players this week.
“I lost against a player who played very well,” said Nadal. “I congratulate him. He was a little bit better than me and that’s why he is in the final.
“In general, it has been a very positive two tournaments, [reaching the] final and semi-finals in tournaments that are not easy for me. I was able to win a lot of matches, but not only win matches, but play at a very good level again. I think it has been one of the most positive two tournaments in a row on hard court of the year without a doubt. The feelings are that I am getting better and better.”
Tsonga, though, is just 6-13 against Djokovic. He did beat Novak in their most recent meeting at 2014 Canada.
“I feel good. To be honest, the season was difficult with a lot of ups and downs,” Tsonga added. “This surface is one of my favourites. I know I’m able to play good tennis. Before I came here, I didn’t know if I will be able to play that good. I hope it’s going to continue.”
Djokovic has won his last 16 matches and 20 straight sets. And he’s seeking a 25th Masters title and 57th of his career. It’s his seventh Masters final of the season and 13th straight final in a tournament.
“He’s a very enthusiastic player. He feeds on the energy of the crowd a lot. He’s very powerful, big serve,” said Djokovic of Tsonga. “I think his game heavily relies on the serve. If he has a high first‑serve percentage, he’s managing to get some free points there. Then he’s dangerous.”
Djokovic is 9-0 lifetime in ATP finals in China and he’s won 37 of his last 38 in the country. The “Big Four” of Djokovic, Federer, Murray and Nadal have won 46 of the last 50 ATP Masters 1000 tournaments, which dates back to Nadal’s triumph at Monte-Carlo in 2010.
Tsonga’s appearance in the championship match moves him into contention for a spot in the ATP Finals in London next month. He is bidding for his 13th career title, third at the Masters level.
SUNDAY SHANGHAI SCHEDULE
STADIUM start 1:30 pm
 S. Bolelli (ITA) / F. Fognini (ITA) vs  R. Klaasen (RSA) / M. Melo (BRA)
 N. Djokovic (SRB) vs  J. Tsonga (FRA)
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