October 11, 2014
Gilles Simon of France returns a shot against Feliciano Lopez of Spain during their semifinal match at the Shanghai Masters tennis tournament in Shanghai, China, Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
Vincent Thian

SHANGHAI (AP) Gilles Simon of France reached his first Masters-level final in six years by defeating Feliciano Lopez of Spain 6-2, 7-6 (1) in the semifinals of the Shanghai Masters on Saturday.

Simon served with great efficiency against Lopez, winning all but two points on his first serve and never facing a break point.

He also handled Lopez's aggressive serve-and-volley game with ease, striking a number of well-placed passing shots down the line for winners and breaking the Spaniard twice.

Simon's ranking had dipped to No. 44 in June, but he's lifted his game considerably in recent weeks, defeating fifth-ranked David Ferrer to reach the fourth round of the U.S. Open and beating two more top-10 players in Shanghai to reach the final.

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