Djokovic vs Berdych Shanghai Masters 2012 semi-finals Preview

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Live Commentary of the match here: Djokovic v Berdych Shanghai Live

Novak Djokovic will meet Tomas Berdych in the last four of the Shanghai Masters event on Saturday. It will be the pair’s 11th career meeting, with the Serb holding an impressive 9-1 advantage.

Djokovic is playing with added motivation at the moment, as he bids to snatch the world number one ranking from Roger Federer before the end of the year. A win against Berdych would propel the Australian Open champion into the final in Shanghai, giving him an opportunity to earn the maximum 1000 ranking points. Berdych will be aiming for his first win over Djokovic since his sole victory at Wimbledon 2010.

Both men have been in excellent form all week. Djokovic hasn’t lost a set in three matches, and Berdych has lost only one, a tie-breaker against Sam Querrey in the third round. In the quarter-finals, Djokovic dispatched the resurgent Tommy Haas 6-3, 6-3, while Berdych scored an impressive victory over Jo-Wilfred Tsonga, winning 6-3, 7-6.

In that match, the Czech’s formidable serve was a key weapon. He hit nine aces, and saved all four break points against him. While the scoreline of the Djokovic-Haas match was more lopsided, the Serb was broken twice, and only managed four aces against his German opponent.

Nevertheless, Djokovic will be the heavy favourite going into the semi-final. Although Berdych is capable of causing him problems, and the fast surface will be to his advantage, Djokovic does everything a little bit better. Berdych’s footwork is solid, but Djokovic is one of the most nimble players on tour, and will make the Czech hit the extra ball in long rallies. The Berdych forehand is one of the best around, but the world number two has superb anticipation and unrivalled mental strength, and finds ways to neutralise the most potent of shots. To score the upset, Berdych will have to serve incredibly well, be the aggressor and not give Djokovic the opportunity to turn defence into attack.

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