SHANGHAI: Novak Djokovic beat Bernard Tomic and Andy Murray overcame heated rival Tomas Berdych as the world number one and two set up a Shanghai Masters semi-final to savour on Friday.
Djokovic had to work in a tough first set before he blew Tomic away, winning 7-6 (8/6), 6-1, and Murray saw off Berdych 6-1, 6-3 to make it three straight victories over the Czech this year.
Earlier, Rafael Nadal’s resurgence moved ahead with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Stan Wawrinka, setting up a clash with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga who was taken to three sets by Kevin Anderson.
Top-ranked Djokovic was pushed all the way by Tomic in a thrilling opening set but after he edged the tiebreak 8/6, it was plain sailing as the Australian capitulated.
Read: Magical Djokovic casts spell over Shanghai
“I think Tomic felt a bit physically exhausted. Last night he played three sets. He finished after midnight. Maybe that has influenced a little bit his game in the second set,” said Djokovic.
Tomic has a reputation for quick losses and was once dubbed “Tomic the tank engine”. Last year he lost the fastest recorded match 6-0, 6-1 to Jarkko Nieminen in 28 minutes, 20 seconds in Miami.
But the 23-year-old, who had a late-night tussle with Richard Gasquet on Thursday, has been rising up the rankings and he is now projected to reach a career high of 18.
Murray and Berdych, who is trained by the Briton’s former coach, played a combustible four-set match at this year’s Australian Open but their 13th career meeting turned out to be one-sided.
Read: Shanghai Masters Djokovic strolls, Murray sails through to third round
Murray owned the Czech in the first set and it wasn’t much different in the second as he moved quickly into a semi-final against Djokovic, a fellow two-time winner in Shanghai.
Elsewhere, Nadal easily beat fourth-ranked Wawrinka to bring up his first win over a top-five player in more than a year and extend a hot streak after he also reached last week’s China Open final.
Spain’s Nadal was on court for just 64 minutes against the Swiss, who was also feeling the effects of his marathon three-setter against Marin Cilic late the previous night.
The French Open champion, who won last week in Tokyo, made 34 unforced errors and was on target with just 45% of his first serves as he folded meekly.
“I was just struggling a little bit today; it’s that simple,” said Wawinka. “You cannot do anything against Nadal if you’re not 100%.”
Published in The Express Tribune, October 17th, 2015.
Like Sports on Facebook, follow @ETribuneSports on Twitter to stay informed and join in the conversation.