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Djokovic win sends warning to Murray

ESPN staff
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Novak Djokovic was on fire against Tomas Berdych © Getty Images
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Novak Djokovic awaits Andy Murray in the Shanghai Masters final after he outclassed No. 4 seed Tomas Berdych on Saturday.

Djokovic, who is aiming for his first Shanghai title, enjoyed a roaring start against Berdych in the weekend's opening semi-final, racing to a 5-1 lead before his rival could even gain a foothold in the match. The world No. 2 was eventually challenged by the Czech, but emerged a 6-3 6-4 winner.

No player on the ATP Tour has won more matches than Djokovic this year, with Berdych representing victim No. 69. The Serb, along with Murray, is also the in-form player as the season draws towards the ATP World Tour Finals in London, and his level on Saturday was - at times - frightening.

Djokovic appeared to gain an instant read on the Berdych serve, which produced only five aces in the match. He set up break point in the Czech's opening service game by attacking the net for an easy volley, and then converted when Berdych sent a forehand long.

After five games Djokovic already led his opponent 10-2 in the winners column, and a crosscourt pass brought up another break point for 5-1, converted when Berdych hit a soft backhand into the net.

Djokovic looked set to cruise through the first set in under half an hour, yet he double-faulted on set point and then allowed Berdych to grab one of the breaks back.

Berdych even had the chance to get fully back on serve in Djokovic's next service game, only to send a backhand long on break point, and the world No. 2 finally sealed his advantage.

Even so, Berdych appeared competitive enough to contest the second set and he got off to a better start by holding serve. However, Djokovic is rarely more dangerous than when he is on the back foot, and an outrageous slice winner down the line dropped in for another break point, which he converted with a forehand crosscourt pass for 2-1.

Frustration began to get the better of Berdych as he argued with the umpire over a line call, but he could not translate that to his tennis as Djokovic served out for victory.

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