After surviving yesterday’s scare against Monfils at the Shanghai Rolex Masters, reigning champion Novak Djokovic (Bio) got off to a flying start against his semi-final challenger Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (Bio) whom he broke to love in the second game of the opener and consolidated the break in the same fashion. While the seventh-seeded Frenchman succeeded to peg back in the fifth game, the set was soon out of his reach again as Nole stole his serve a couple of more times for a one nil lead. 14 out of 34 points top seed Djokovic had won in the first set came as a result of his rival’s unforced errors, whilst the Serb only conceded 4 in that part of the match.
Tsonga came stronger into the second set in which he often made use of penetrating first serves followed by a net approach, yet he was soon faced with a break point in the fourth game. He escaped the danger on that occasion, but Djokovic prepared another couple of them two games later after some masterful defensive action to eventually go 4-2 up. However, the Frenchman got right back into the match as he built a 15-40* lead in the follow-up game and he converted straight away by successfully challenging a shot that was initially called out. He confirmed the break with a love hold, yet the Serb champion stepped up once again just before the set would go to a tie-break – he squandered the first match point at 6-5, but would not let go off the second opportunity by tucking away a forehand winner to continue his unbeaten run in Shanghai with a 6-2, 7-5 victory.
“It’s important for me to get into another final,” Djokovic said in a post-match television interview. “[My serving] was very controlled, very efficient… I was trying to open up the court and move him around. I know he likes to have targets, he likes to play from the backhand corners so I tried not to [let] him into that comfort zone.”
Djokovic improved the head-to-record against Tsonga to 11-5 and is about to play his seventh final in 2013 – he only lost the title clashes at Wimbledon and the US Open. His final opponent shall be known after the battle between Rafael Nadal and Juan Martin del Potro later today.
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