Murray fights back to keep 100pc Shanghai record intact
Game's hottest rivalry renewed, while Djokovic dispatches Haas to set up clash with Berdych
Agence France-Presse in Shanghai
Andy Murray remained on course for a hat-trick of titles at the Shanghai Masters despite the best efforts of tricky Czech Radek Stepanek yesterday and now sets his sights on Roger Federer.
Third seed Murray, still on a high from winning the US Open last month, was out-foxed in the first set by the unorthodox Stepanek before recovering to win their quarter-final clash 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.
Number one seed Federer, who is guaranteed to spend a 300th week on top of the ATP rankings, cruised past Croatia's Marin Cilic 6-3, 6-4 to conclude the day's action at the Qi Zhong Tennis Centre.
In the bottom half, Tomas Berdych proved too solid for Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, winning 6-3, 7-6 (7-4), while Novak Djokovic ended the run of Germany's Tommy Haas, winning 6-3, 6-3.
"It was quite a scrappy first couple of sets, but obviously the second set I managed to get a break, got a bit of momentum," said Murray, whose match against Federer will be eagerly anticipated after his thrashing of the Swiss at the London Olympics. "I dictated a majority of the points at the end of the match and I needed to because he was playing with a lot of variety, making it hard for me."
Federer, who beat Murray in the Wimbledon final to earn a 17th grand slam title, was largely untroubled against Cilic although he did waver when attempting to serve out the match.
The Swiss squandered a match point at 5-3 and Cilic took advantage to break for the second time in the match. Federer was not detained for much longer, however, earning two more match points in the following game and converting the first when Cilic fired a forehand long.
Djokovic denied Haas his 500th match victory with a clinical performance. "My return games were exceptional," the Serbian said.
He will be attempting to win his fifth title of the year, although Berdych will provide a stern test after the Czech's impressive display against Tsonga. "I think it was a really solid game and solid performance," Berdych said. "The biggest difference between me and Jo was I was able to take the small chances during the first and especially the second set. It was not many of them, but I was able to keep it and convert it on my side."