Shanghai semis: Federer-Murray, Djokovic-Berdych
SHANGHAI — Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Tomas Berdych — the top four seeded players — reached the semifinals of the Shanghai Masters.
Federer beat Marin Cilic of Croatia 6-3, 6-4 on Friday and will next play Murray, the two-time defending champion. Murray improved his Shanghai record to 11-0 by defeating a tenacious Radek Stepanek 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.
Djokovic easily won his quarterfinal, downing Tommy Haas of Germany 6-3, 6-3. He’ll face Berdych, who outlasted Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-3, 7-6 (4) in the day’s first match. Berdych has beaten Djokovic only once in 10 matches.
This is the first time in the four years of the Shanghai Masters the top four seeded players made it to the semifinals. That has happened in four other tournaments this year: Australian Open; Doha, Qatar; Estoril, Portugal; and Umag, Croatia.
Murray defeated Federer in their last match — the London Olympics final — and has a 9-8 record against the top-ranked Swiss. Murray also took Federer in the 2010 Shanghai final.
“I assume he’s very confident right now and probably playing with a little bit less pressure,” Federer said. “Then again, that can go either way. It’s been a long year for all of us.”
Federer played solidly, saving five of seven break-point opportunities he handed Cilic. He was broken in the fourth game of the first set and when serving for the match at 5-3 in the second.
Haas was the first player this week to break Djokovic’s serve, with both breaks coming in the second set. The first break was in the second game and the other when Djokovic was serving for the match at 5-2.
“(I was) a little bit more up and down with the service games,” said Djokovic, who won the China Open last week. “But generally when I needed to, I played well. Played very solid from the baseline.”
Stepanek dominated the first set and never gave Murray an opportunity to break serve. Murray rebounded in the second set, breaking serve to go ahead 4-2. Stepanek had two opportunities to retrieve the service break on Murray’s serve in the seventh game, but Murray kept his lead.
In the third set, the 41st-ranked Stepanek had a point on serve for a 3-1 lead, but Murray broke back. He won 20 of the last 25 points.
“I just managed to turn it around in time,” Murray said. “I played actually very well I thought the last 10, 15 minutes of the match.”
Tsonga was undone by two mistakes — a shaky service game that he lost at love in the eighth game of the first set and a double-fault at 4-4 in the second-set tiebreaker.
“I was feeling quite well on the court,” Berdych said. “I think the biggest difference between me and Jo was I was able to take the small chances during the first and especially the second set.”
Stosur breezes into Japan Open semis
OSAKA, Japan — Top-seeded Sam Stosur of Australia moved into the Japan Open semifinals with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Jamie Hampton of the United States on Friday.
Stosur, the 2011 U.S. Open champion, broke her unseeded opponent’s serve seven times in the quarterfinal while never facing a break point herself.
Stosur, ranked ninth in the world, will meet Kai-chen Chang of Taiwan on Saturday, after the unseeded Chang ousted eighth-seeded Laura Robson of Britain 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (4).
Also, unseeded local favorite Misaki Doi advanced to her first WTA semifinal by defeating seventh-seeded Chanelle Scheepers of South Africa, 2-6, 6-1, 6-3.
Flipkens beats Ivanovic at Generali Ladies
LINZ, Austria — Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium defeated two-time champion Ana Ivanovic 6-4, 6-0 on Friday in the quarterfinals of the Generali Ladies. Top-ranked Victoria Azarenka, fifth-seeded Julia Goerges and Irina-Camelia Begu also advanced to the semifinals.
Flipkens, who is ranked 66th and had to qualify for the main draw, trailed 3-1 before winning 11 of the next 12 games.
“It’s incredible that I’ve beaten her,” Flipkens said. “I tried to play my own game and switched a lot between attacking and defensive shots. Then Ana started to make more mistakes. I think that was because of the way I was playing.”
Ivanovic won the tournament in 2008 and 2010. Flipkens, who won her first title in Quebec City last month, will play Goerges for a place in Sunday’s final.
Azarenka reached her 10th semifinal of the season by defeating Petra Martic of Croatia 6-2, 6-2. Azarenka won the first 10 points to help build a 4-0 lead before Martic clawed her way back. The Croat had a break in the second set to make it 2-2 but did not win another game.
“I feel like I adjusted really well,” said Azarenka, who had never played Martic before.
Azarenka has not dropped a set in 11 consecutive matches. She won in Beijing last week and pulled out in the quarterfinals at Tokyo the week before.
“Every day I have to push myself,” Azarenka said. “It’s not easy, even when it seems easy out there on court.”
Azarenka will next play Begu, a Romanian who defeated Bethanie Mattek-Sands of the United States 6-4, 1-6, 6-2.
The match was interrupted in the second set for about 20 minutes after rainwater leaked from the roof onto the court.
The 57th-ranked Begu, who won her first career title in Tashkent last month, lost in qualifying but entered the main draw as a replacement for Anna Tatishvili of Georgia.
Goerges, who hasn’t lost a set this tournament, beat Sofia Arvidsson of Sweden 6-1, 6-4. From 1-1 in the opening set, the German won seven straight games. Arvidsson broke back to tie it 4-4 in the second but then dropped her serve for the fourth time.
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