SHANGHAI: World number one Novak Djokovic continued his dominance of the Chinese hardcourts by swatting aside a misfiring Andy Murray 6-1, 6-3 to reach the final of the Shanghai Masters on Saturday.
The Serbian — gunning for his 10th title in China — will take on Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Sunday after the 16th seed recorded a 6-4, 0-6, 7-5 win over Rafa 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 on Sunday.
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 when he dismantled Nadal in the Beijing final.
Briton Murray, twice a champion in Shanghai, knew a fast start was necessary if he was to upset his long term foe but he did just the opposite.
The world number two served a paltry 43% of first serves in the opening set, offered 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 gamely 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.
“I felt great from the first point. I was playing with very high intensity, especially on serve,” said Djokovic in a courtside interview.
Like Djokovic, Tsonga has a fondness for the courts in Shanghai and will be hopeful of repeating his Saturday form when he takes on the Serb. “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,” he said.