SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Two time champion Novak Djokovic thumped Spain’s David Ferrer 6-4 6-2 to march into the last four of the Shanghai Masters on Friday and set up a semi-final showdown with third seed Roger Federer.
The Serbian world number one, who won the China Open title for a fifth time last week, hit 26 winners against the Spaniard’s 11 to stretch his winning streak in China to 29 matches.
Djokovic took control early by breaking Ferrer’s serve in the second game and then saved two break points at 5-4 to serve out the first set.
World number five Ferrer did not have another opportunity to break the top seed’s serve and was broken twice in the second set as he lost his seventh consecutive meeting against Djokovic.
”Roger is one of the best players ever in the game,“ Djokovic told reporters. ”There is no clear favorite. I think every time we play against each other, it’s a thriller.
“It’s really a big challenge for both of us. We need to bring our ‘A’ game in order to win.”
Frenchman Julien Benneteau matched Federer shot for shot in the first set but the 17-times grand slam found a new level in the second to win 7-6(4) 6-0.
Federer converted three out of four break point opportunities in the second set to canter to victory.
The Swiss, who served 11 aces, won 91 percent of his first serve points and smashed 34 winners, double the number the Frenchman could manage.
Unseeded Frenchman Gilles Simon also moved into the semi-finals after ousting sixth seed Tomas Berdych in three sets, leaving the Czech sweating about a place at the ATP World Tour finals.
Simon, ranked 29th in the world, earned a 7-6(4) 4-6 6-0 win after a two-and-a-half hour slugfest to set up a last four meeting with Spain’s Feliciano Lopez.
The tall left-handed Spaniard, who knocked out compatriot Rafa Nadal in the second round, fought back from a set and a break of serve down to beat Russian Mikhail Youzhny 5-7 6-4 6-4.
Simon’s win was his second big upset of the tournament following his second round victory over Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka.
Berdych is currently seventh in the ATP Race To London standings, with five singles spots left up for grabs at next month’s season-ending event.
The Czech will compete in next week’s Stockholm Open to try to book a spot in the eight-man field for London.
1 Novak Djokovic 8650-qualified
2 Roger Federer 7020-qualified
3 Rafa Nadal 6735-qualified
4 Stan Wawrinka 4795
5 Kei Nishikori 4255
6 Marin Cilic 3980
7 Tomas Berdych 3765
8 Milos Raonic 3740
9 Andy Murray 3565
10 David Ferrer 3535
11 Grigor Dimitrov 3405
12 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 2650
13 Ernests Gulbis 2445
* Points as of Oct. 6.
Writing by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai and Patrick Johnston in Singapore; Editing by Justin Palmer