Flawless Djokovic Books Final Berth
Djokovic reached the final in his seventh consecutive ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event, extending his overall winning streak to 16 straight matches and 20 consecutive sets won. The Serb sets a final clash against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Sunday, with a third Shanghai crown in sight. He previously prevailed in 2012 (d. Murray) and 2013 (d. Del Potro).
"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 reflected. "He's a player I lost to a couple months ago in the Montreal final. Obviously there was a lot at stake. Whenever we play against each other, it's always exciting. It's always a huge challenge. But I was ready. I came in from the very first point with the right intensity, played great, on a very high level.
"I had a very high first-serve percentage throughout the entire match. He had a very low one. I think that also made a difference in terms of the scoreline."
The World No. 1 applied significant pressure on Murray from the start. The Scot staved off a pair of break points in the opening game of the match, but Djokovic would not be denied two games later, breaking for 2-1 and never looking back. In a dominant display of baseline aggression, he would reel off 24 of the next 27 points to capture the first set in a mere 25 minutes. Murray was victimised by 17 unforced errors in the opener, but looked poised to make it a competitive affair after securing an immediate break to begin the second set.
Murray's lead would be short lived, however, as a double fault in the next game would hand the break back and Djokovic would surge to the finish line. The Serb laced a backhand down the line to punctuate the 68-minute win. He fired five aces and converted on five of eight break chances in total.
Djokovic carries a 13-6 FedEx ATP Head2Head edge against Tsonga. The Frenchman turned in a brilliant display in relinquishing just four games in the third round of last year's ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event in Toronto. He would go on to claim his second Masters 1000 title (d. Federer) and will be hoping for similar success against the top seed on Sunday.
Victory would bring Djokovic's Masters 1000 title haul to 25, pulling him to within two of Rafael Nadal's record. The Serb is currently tied with Roger Federer for second place on the list. Appearing in his 83rd tour-level final, he is also bidding to claim his 58th title."It was tough," said Murray. "I'm obviously disappointed with the way I played. 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. You have to do better than that.
"I made it extremely difficult for myself. I just couldn't get myself in it. Even the second set, got that break at the beginning and was hoping to kick on a little bit. Just didn't serve well at all tonight. It was tough."