x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Federer could equal Sampras' title tally

The Swiss defeats Novak Djokovic to set up a final match-up with Andy Murray at the Shanghai Masters.

SHANGHAI // Roger Federer could capture the 64th title of his career today, moving him into a tie with Pete Sampras for fourth place on the all-time list, when he meets Andy Murray in the final of the Shanghai Masters.

Federer defeated Novak Djokovic 7-5, 6-4 yesterday to set up a match-up with Murray, who dispatched Juan Monaco 6-4, 6-1 to reach his fourth final of the year.

Murray will go into the match will confident mood having won seven of their 12 career matches, including the last time they played in the Toronto Masters final in August – the Scot’s only title of the year.

With his win over Djokovic, Federer will regain the No 2 ranking he lost when he was beaten by the Serb in the US Open semi-finals last month. “I enjoy playing Roger, it’s a great experience every time against him,” Murray said. “It’s always great fun, so I wouldn’t mind playing Roger.”

Murray broke Monaco’s serve early in the first set yesterday before taking a 5-2 lead.

But he committed four consecutive errors when trying to close out the set and dropped serve for only the second time all week.

The Scot turned it around with defence in the next game.

After breaking a string, he saved three overheads with backhand lobs before Monaco finally missed a smash wide. Monaco dropped seven of the next eight games to lose the match.

Kimiko Date Krumm, 40, remained on track to become the oldest player to win a WTA Tour singles title after beating Shahar Peer in the semi-finals of the Japan Women’s Open in Osaka.