Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

Davydenko enters semi-finals in style

Nikolay Davydenko advanced to the semi-finals by beating Juan Martin del Potro 6-3, 6-2.

SHANGHAI // Nikolay Davydenko advanced to the semi-finals by beating Juan Martin del Potro 6-3, 6-2. Knowing the winner would advance, Davydenko's defense and relentless groundstrokes were the difference, turning an expected tight match into a rout.

He broke Del Potro's serve four times in eight chances. "Today, I played so good," Davydenko said. "I feel great." Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France ended his Masters Cup drought with a 1-6, 7-5, 6-1 victory over Serbia's Novak Djokovic, who already had clinched a spot in the semi-finals. Del Potro was unable to put much pressure on his Russian opponent in the first set, connecting on only 42 percent of his first serves.

Serving while trailing 4-3, Del Potro double-faulted to set up break-point. Davydenko put away a forehand winner off a short ball for the game, then held at love for the set. After Del Potro held to start the second set, Davydenko won five straight games. Del Potro held to get to 5-2, but Davydenko finished it off in the next game. Tsonga, eliminated after losing his first two Gold Group matches in his debut at the season-ending tournament, also looked listless before coming alive and winning five consecutive games from 5-5 in the second set to take control.

Djokovic beat Tsonga in the Australian Open final in January for his first Grand Slam title but has now lost their past three meetings, including at the Paris Masters two weeks ago. Tsonga, who has won over fans in Shanghai with passionate play and powerful serve, was unusually subdued early in the match, showing only flashes of the form that carried him to the title in Paris, an event he had to win to qualify for this tournament.

Djokovic, continuing his efforts to end the stranglehold that Federer and Nadal have had on the top two spots in the rankings, broke Tsonga twice while finishing the first set in just 25 minutes. Tsonga pulled himself together in the second set, saving two breakpoints while serving at 2-2, then finally broke through as Djokovic served at 5-6. The Serb had four unforced errors in the game, sending a forehand long on set point. Another four mistakes handed Tsonga an early break in the third set. Tsonga broke again to take a 5-1 lead.

He then held at love, flicking a lob winner on match point. A four-time Masters Cup winner, Roger Federer also has to win tomorrow to get through. He faces Britain's Andy Murray, who has won both his games in the Red Group and already has guaranteed himself a place in the semi-finals. Gilles Simon of France still has a chance if Federer falters. He will play Radek Stepanek, who replaced Andy Roddick when the American pulled out with a sprained ankle suffered in practice.

* Associated Press

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 UAE rugby player Adam Telford, right, catches the ball during a Test match against Singapore at The Sevens ground in Dubai on Wednesday. UAE lost the Asian 5 Nations match 30-13 to be relegated to the third tier of Asian rugby. Sarah Dea / The National / April 23, 2014

In pictures: UAE rugby in action against Singapore

Images from the Asian Five Nations Test for UAE rugby against Singapore on Wednesday night at The Sevens ground in Dubai.

 Ravindra Jadeja of Chennai Super Kings playing a shot in their Indian Premier League win over Rajasthan Royals at Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Wednesday. Jadeja scored 36 runs not out from 33 balls. Pawan Singh / The National / April 23, 2014

In pictures: Chennai Super Kings notch win behind do-everything Jadeja

Images from Wednesday night's Indian Premier League match in Dubai, where Ravindra Jadeja led Chennai Super Kings over Rajasthan Royals.

 Karim Benzema of Real Madrid celebrates scoring the opening goal in the Champions League semi-final first leg match against Bayern Munich at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday in Madrid, Spain. Martin Rose / Bongarts / Getty Images / April 23, 2014

In pictures: Benzema propels Real Madrid over Bayern Munich

Images from Real Madrid's 1-0 win over Bayern Munich in the Champions League semi-final first leg match at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday night.

 Chris Gayle has been the most feared batsman in the Royal Challengers Bangalore line-up since he joined the team in 2011. Indranil Mukherjee / AFP

Parthiv continues to fill Gayle’s big shoes for Bangalore

Indian wicketkeeper-batsman will continue to open the innings for Royal Challengers with the West Indian still nursing his bad back, writes Paul Radley.

 Dana Shamlawi pulls a 4x4 car during the final day of the UAE Strongman Competition in Dubai. Delores Johnson / The National

UAE Strongman Competition takes weight training to a whole new scale

Two-day competition in Dubai attracts men and women from across the Emirates and proves it takes more than just bulky muscles to win, writes Ali Khaled.

 UAE’s Charlie Sargent tries to avoid a tackle by Singapore team members during the one-off Division 1 Test at The Sevens. The Singapore-born winger was making his debut. Sarah Dea / The National

Asian Five Nations: UAE go into rebuilding mode in Division 2

With a new look squad, including five emerging Emirati players, the UAE will hope to restructure and get into the winning habit in more forgiving climes when they drop a level in the revamped competition next season.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National