SHANGHAI (AP) — Novak Djokovic reached his 13th consecutive ATP Tour final with a 6–1, 6–3 win over Andy Murray at the Shanghai Masters on Saturday, one of his most lopsided victories ever over his rival.
Djokovic will play Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in Sunday’s final after the Frenchman upset Rafael Nadal 6-4, 0-6, 7-5 in the other semifinal.
The top-seeded Djokovic broke Murray five times and committed just seven unforced errors to 30 for the Scot.
“It’s the best match of the tournament at the right time against a player who was in form and one of my biggest rivals,” Djokovic said. “Obviously, there was a lot at stake.”
Djokovic has now won nine of his last 10 matches against Murray over the past two years and 20 of 29 overall.
Murray had won their last encounter in Montreal in August and was hoping to carry some momentum into the season-ending ATP Finals and the Davis Cup final against Belgium with another confidence-boosting victory over Djokovic.
The Scot had an uncharacteristically poor serving night, however, which doomed his chances. Murray only got 46 percent of his first serves into play and double-faulted six times, including on break point to give Djokovic a 3–1 lead in the second set.
“Obviously disappointed with the way I played,” Murray said. “I served poorly in the first set especially. You can't afford to do that against Novak with the way he’s playing just now, the amount of confidence he has in his game, and the conditions over here.”
Djokovic will be aiming for his ninth title in what has been one of the most successful seasons of his career. Not only has the Serbian won three Grand Slam titles, but he has reached the final in every tournament he has played since the Qatar Open in January when he lost to Ivo Karlovic in the quarterfinals.
“When you keep on winning like this, you don't have time to reflect on the victories, the way you have played,” he said. “I try to enjoy it for the little time that I have. But knowing that I have a final tomorrow, I am very pleased and satisfied with how I played, but I have to focus already on the next one.”
Nadal had been attempting to reach back-to-back finals following his run last week at the China Open, where he eventually lost to Djokovic.
The Spaniard had displayed some of his best tennis of the season this week—beating top-10 players Milos Raonic and Stan Wawrinka—but played tentatively at the start against Tsonga, fending off four break points in the first set before the Frenchman finally converted on his fifth.
After Nadal easily won the second, Tsonga broke him again to go up 6–5 in the third and then got to match point with a diving volley that clipped the baseline. He closed it out when Nadal dumped a backhand into the net.
“I was there until the end. Was not the day to win,” Nadal said.
Tsonga, seeded 16th, had not reached a final this season until capturing the Open de Moselle title last month in France.
It’s been an up-and-down year for the Frenchman after he missed 11 weeks at the start of the season with an arm injury he aggravated in last year’s David Cup final. Tsonga reached the semifinals of the French Open, but also fell before the quarters in nine other events and briefly dropped out of the top 20 in August.
“To be honest, before (I) come here, I didn’t know if I will be able to play that good,” Tsonga said. “But finally I play really good ... I hope it’s going to continue.”