SHANGHAI (AFP) – World number one Novak Djokovic marched into the semi-finals of the Shanghai Masters Friday, overcoming David Ferrer 6-4, 6-2 as he vies for his third successive title.
The Serbian world number one joins Gilles Simon of France and Spaniard Feliciano Lopez in the last four, with Roger Federer playing his quarter final later Friday.
Djokovic broke his Spanish opponents serve in the first game, but was given a scare as he was serving to take the first set with the scores at 5-4 in his favour.
Ferrer, who dumped out Britain’s Andy Murray in the quarters, saved three set-points against the top seed in Shanghai before earning two break points.
But Djokovic snuffed out the challenge and finally closed the marathon 12 minute game at the net, pumping his fists with relief as the crowd roared.
He was more dominant in the second set, breaking fifth seed Ferrer again at his first attempt before gaining a 5-2 lead with his next break and closing out the match in one hour 24 minutes.
Simon continued his great run in Shanghai by overwhelming Tomas Berdych in a scintillating final, his second top-10 scalp in three days.
The world number 29 won 7-6 (7/4), 4-6, 6-0 to enter his second successive semi-final, after also making the last four in Tokyo last week where he lost to Milos Raonic.
Simon, 29, is yet to win a Masters title but he is in a rich vein of form and overpowered Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka on Wednesday in Shanghai.
Berdych, meanwhile, reached last week’s China Open final and he arrived at the Shanghai quarter-finals without even facing a break point.
But the tournament’s sixth seed, ranked seventh in the world, was given a rude awakening when Simon broke his serve in the first game.
The Czech, however, appeared well in control of his serving game thereafter, firing 12 aces throughout the set.
Berdych broke back in the third game to draw level and an increasingly frustrated Simon shouted at himself after misfiring in a tense game which brought the scores to 6-6.
But his bout of self-criticism appeared to work, as the former world number six raced to a 5-2 lead in the tie-break and sealed the set with a powerful cross-court groundstroke.