SHANGHAI — Two-time defending champion Andy Murray beat an erratic-serving Roger Federer 6-4, 6-4 in a rainy semifinal Saturday, setting up a U.S. Open final rematch against Novak Djokovic at the Shanghai Masters.
Djokovic reached his 10th final of the year by defeating fourth-seeded Tomas Berdych 6-3, 6-4 in the earlier semifinal. Djokovic is looking for his fifth title of the year and second straight after winning in Beijing last week.
Federer’s serve gave him so much trouble that in one stretch he double-faulted three straight times. When asked if he had done before, he said: “It has happened, and today again. It happens, unfortunately.”
Murray broke Federer in the fifth game of the first set but then wasted seven break points in the first game of the second. The top-ranked Swiss held serve before a brief rain delay.
But Federer couldn’t stave off Murray, who again broke to go up 3-2. There was one more rain delay before the U.S. Open champion served out the match.
The players left the court for about 30 minutes at 5-4 while organizers closed the eight-petal magnolia-shaped roof. When play resumed, Murray needed only five points to finish the match.
“You’ll pay the price by having an average game like that against a top guy like Andy,” Federer said.
Murray, seeded third, improved his record against Federer to 10-8. Murray won their previous match, the Olympic final in London. Federer won their Wimbledon final earlier this summer.
Federer struggled with his first serve, double-faulting five times.
Djokovic recorded his tour-leading 69th victory of the year. The second-seeded Serb hit 25 winners and converted all three of his break points to improve his head-to-head record against Berdych to 10-1.
GENERALI LADIES: Top-ranked Victoria Azarenka reached her ninth final of the season and will play Julia Goerges for the title in Linz, Austria.
Azarenka advanced with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania, and Goerges edged Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium 1-6, 6-2, 6-3.
Azarenka, who won the Australian Open in January, is going for her sixth title of the year. She is 3-1 in her career against Goerges.
JAPAN OPEN: Chang Kai-chen of Taiwan beat top-seeded Sam Stosur of Australia 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (3) to advance to the final in Osaka.
The 21-year-old Chang will face Britain’s Heather Watson today after she defeated local favorite Misaki Doi of Japan 7-6 (2), 7-5 in the other semifinal.