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Nadal, Djokovic in to semi-finals

ESPN staff
October 11, 2013 « UEFA considers 'Nations League' | Chartbeat test »
Nadal was pushed in the first set before shifting through the gears © Getty Images
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Rafael Nadal continued his astonishing season with a 7-6(10) 6-1 victory over Stan Wawrinka - himself playing the best tennis of his career.

The first set was an epic tussle of scintillating forehands and breath-taking backhands, but in the end it was the most delicious of drop shots from the Spaniard to set up the point he needed to take the set and end a slobberknocker of a tie-break.

Nadal, who had saved a set point at 4-5 down, shifted through the gears and raced into a 5-0 lead in the second with the kind of mesmerising tennis which has seen him dominate the sport this year.

Wawrinka, battling for his place at next month's ATP Tour Finals in London, pulled a game back, but the inevitable outcome arrived at Nadal's second match point.

Race to London

  • The battle to qualify for the ATP World Tour Finals is one of the most open in recent years, writes ESPN's resident expert Chris Wilkinson.
  • With Andy Murray already out, here are the top 12 players pushing for a spot at the season-ending showpiece:
  • 1. Rafa Nadal (11,160 points)
  • 2. Novak Djokovic (11,120)
  • 3. David Ferrer (6,710)
  • 4. Juan Martin Del Potro (4,925)
  • 5. Tomas Berdych (4,610)
  • 6. Roger Federer (4,515)
  • 7. Stan Wawrinka (3,150)
  • 8. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (3,115)
  • 9. Richard Gasquet (3,095)
  • 10. Milos Raonic (2,815)
  • 11. Tommy Haas (2,355)
  • 12. John Isner (2,115)

Novak Djokovic was made to work much harder for his win, as he survived a scare to battle back from a set down to move past Gael Monfils into the semi-finals at the Shanghai Masters.

The defending champion and top seed saw off Monfils 6-7(4) 6-2 6-4 in two hours and 23 minutes.

Monfils, who knocked Roger Federer out in the last eight, became the first man to break Djokovic in Shanghai, winning a tight first set on a tiebreaker.

However Djokovic cruised through the second set with Monfils receiving treatment for an injury.

The Serb then had a match point at 5-3 in the third set but Monfils managed to hold serve, with the world No. 2 doing the same to love to see out the match.

"That was a very physical match and I knew that coming into this quarter-final with Gael winning against Roger he's feeling confident," said Djokovic.

"This is one of the fastest courts on the tour that we have so it's quite suitable to his style of the game and he runs all over the place.

"I didn't get many free points and I needed to work hard. I'm just glad I managed to play well when I needed to.

"He's one of the best movers we have on tour but he's not physically very fit so I knew after dropping the first set that he wouldn't be able to hold that level so I just had to hang in there and stay tough and wait for my chances."

Djokovic will face Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who moved one step closer to a place at the ATP World Tour Finals after seeing off unseeded German Florian Mayer 6-2 6-3.

Juan Martin del Potro is Nadal's next opponent, after the Argentine moved into the last four with a 6-3 6-3 win over Nicolas Almagro.

Tsonga and Del Potro are among those vying to take one of the final five spots for the year-end showdown in London at the O2 Arena.

Del Potro, fifth in the rankings, can secure his spot by reaching the final in Shanghai while Tsonga - currently 10th - needs a strong showing in Japan and at the Paris Masters later this month.

Novak Djokovic saw off Gael Monfils in three sets © Getty Images
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