By Neil Connor, AFP
SHANGHAI–World number one Novak Djokovic and 17-times Grand Slam winner Roger Federer will battle for a place in the Shanghai Masters final after they powered through their quarterfinal matches Friday. Gilles Simon of France and Spaniard Feliciano Lopez will also meet in Saturday’s semi-finals as the tournament reaches its dramatic climax. Federer won his evening match against Julien Benneteau of France, taking the first set at the tiebreak, before demolishing his opponent in the second to finish with a 7-6 (7/4), 6-0 scoreline.
The third seed in Shanghai last faced Djokovic in the Wimbledon final, a game he lost 6-7(7/9), 6-4, 7-6(7/4), 5-7, 6-4. The Swiss player is marginally ahead in their previous meetings, winning 18 times, compared to 17 for seven-times Grand Slam winner Djokovic “I think every time we play against each other, it’s a thriller,” Shanghai top seed Djokovic said, ahead of the mouthwatering semifinal. “It’s really a big challenge for both of us. We need to take the best out of us. We need to bring our ‘A game’ in order to win.” Federer has been in stunning form this season, and is set to overtake world number two Rafael Nadal in the rankings on the back of his run in Shanghai. ‘Given a scare’ Djokovic marched into the semi-finals by overcoming David Ferrer 6-4, 6-2 as he vies for his third successive title. The Serb broke his Spanish opponent’s serve in the first game, but was given a scare as he was serving to take the first set with the scores at 5-4 in his favor.