x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Davydenko stands firm to reach Shanghai semi-finals

Nikolay Davydenko survives a mid-match fightback from Czech Radek Stepanek to reach the semi-finals of the inaugural Shanghai Masters with a 6-1, 4-6, 6-1 victory.

SHANGHAI // Sixth seed Nikolay Davydenko survived a mid-match fightback from Czech Radek Stepanek to reach the semi-finals of the inaugural Shanghai Masters with a 6-1, 4-6, 6-1 victory today. The Russian, who reached the final of the season-ending Masters Cup here last year, grabbed three breaks to go a set up after just half an hour but Stepanek changed his game plan in the second. Abandoning his serve and volley tactic, Stepanek had more success battling it out from the baseline and evened up the match before putting immediate pressure Davydenko's serve at the start of the deciding set.

A limp backhand into the net forfeited the Czech a break point, however, and Davydenko barely gave him another chance as he raced to victory and a last four meeting against second seed Novak Djokovic or Gilles Simon. "He destroyed me in the second set," the world No 8 Davydenko said. "In the third set I tried to find my game, tried to make no mistakes, play better and better, with good concentration and he started to make mistakes from the baseline again. He didn't have any chance."

Stepanek, the world No 16, made 42 unforced errors. Serbian Djokovic, who takes on Frenchman Simon in the third quarter-final on the central arena, crushed Davydenko in the 2008 Masters Cup final. "Last time he played me pretty fast," Davydenko added. "I had no chance. He played very good baseline. Really, I could not do anything. If I still have good control, maybe I have a chance." The world No 2 Rafael Nadal later faces Croatian Ivan Ljubicic to see who will face Swede Robin Soderling or Feliciano Lopez in the other semi-final at the $3.24 million (Dh11.8m) tournament.

* Reuters