SHANGHAI // Andrew Murray's excellent 2008 season came to an end after Nikolay Davydenko defeated the Scot 7-5, 6-2 to advance to the Masters Cup final. Davydenko, 27, was unspectacular but steady against Murray and it took until the 12th game to break the Briton's serve to seal the first set. The second set was more conclusive. Davydenko broke Murray's serve twice to win the set 6-2. The Russian has never reached a Grand Slam final, and his best performance in three previous appearances in the Masters Cup had been a semi-final loss in 2005. Murray would have won US$1.34 million (Dh5m) if he had gone through the tournament undefeated, but he was clearly feeling the effects of Friday's three-hour epic victory over Roger Federer a match he did not need to win to reach the semi-finals. Earlier, the world number three Novak Djokovic came back from a set down to reach the Masters Cup final for the first time with a 4-6 6-3 7-5 victory over the Frenchman Gilles Simon. The Australian Open champion made 21 errors in losing the opening set but took advantage of a neck injury to his opponent to grind out a win after two hours and 50 minutes to set up a meeting with Andy Murray or Nikolay Davydenko.
The defeat ended a fairy-tale ride for Simon, 23, who won his ticket to the season finale when world number one Rafael Nadal pulled out injured and then went on to beat the defending champion Roger Federer in a round-robin match, on his way to the last four. The Briton Andy Murray, who knocked Federer out of the $4.4 million (Dh16.4m) tournament in an epic contest yesterday meets Russian Davydenko later today.