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Shanghai Masters: Tsonga outplays Nadal, to face Djokovic in final

Last updated on: October 17, 2015 20:26 IST

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France celebrates after beating Rafael Nadal of Spain in their men's singles semi-final match

IMAGE: France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga celebrates after beating Spain's Rafael Nadal in their semi-final match at the Shanghai Masters tennis tournament in Shanghai, on Saturday. Photograph: Damir Sagolj/Reuters

Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga recorded a first win over Rafael Nadal in almost four years after producing some scintillating tennis to beat the Spaniard in the semi-finals of the Shanghai Masters on Saturday.

Tsonga, the 16th seed, triumphed 6-4, 0-6, 7-5 to set up a final against world no 1 Novak Djokovic, who bested Briton Andy Murray 6-1, 6-3 in the second semi-final.

The Frenchman fired down 11 aces to record his first win over Nadal since the 2011 ATP World Tour Finals and give a major boost to his flagging hopes of qualifying again for the end of season championships in London.

Nadal, a winner of 14 grand slam singles titles, struggled to cope with Tsonga in the opening set as the Frenchman pressured the Spaniard's serve with some heavy hitting.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (right) is congratulated by Rafael Nadal

IMAGE: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (right) is congratulated by Rafael Nadal. Photograph: Damir Sagolj/Reuters

He secured the break in the fifth game at the third time of asking but after going on to serve out the set, Tsonga's game crumbled in the second set as Nadal easily levelled without dropping a game to force a decider.

Nadal, looking for a first hard court title in almost two years, was forced to save some early break points but the third set remained on serve until Tsonga struck in the 11th game of an enthralling encounter.

The 30-year-old Frenchman produced an eye-catching dive to force match point, which he converted to reach his first Masters final since he triumphed in Toronto last year.

Novak Djokovic of Serbia reacts after winning the match against Andy Murray of Great Britain in his semi-final in Shanghai

IMAGE: Novak Djokovic of Serbia reacts after winning the match against Andy Murray of Great Britain in his semi-final in Shanghai. Photograph: Kevin Lee/Getty Images

The 30-year-old Frenchman was delighted with his scintillating display featuring 40 winners, mainly from a fearsome forehand, but will have to find yet another gear if he is to upset Djokovic on Sunday.

The 10-times grand slam champion is aiming for his third Shanghai title on the back of securing his sixth China Open crown last week when he dismantled Nadal in the Beijing final.

Briton Murray, twice a champion in Shanghai, knew a fast start was necessary if he was to upset his long term foe but he did just the opposite.

The world number two served a paltry 43 percent of first serves in the opening set, offered four double faults and 17 unforced errors as he was broken in three straight games to concede the opener.

He rebounded at the start of the second by breaking Djokovic to 15 and hustled and harried in trademark gamely fashion but the small bit of momentum was lost as he gave away his next service game.

The Serb was imperious from the back of the court and broke again before serving out comfortably to improve his head-to-head record to 20-9 over Murray.

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