Murray eases past Tsonga to confirm his return to form

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The Independent Online

Andy Murray brushed aside burly Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-2, 6-2 at the Shanghai Masters yesterday to underline his return to form after a recent illness.

Murray took command early in the first set and was hardly troubled as he advanced to the last four.

"He struggled a little bit on his serve and wasn't serving as big as usual, so I managed to get into a lot of the return games," said Murray. "I served well and didn't give him any chances on my serve. I was hitting the ball really cleanly from the back of the court, so it was a good start."

The error-prone Tsonga was no match for the 23-year-old world No4, whose stinging backhand returns forced the 12th seed into submission.

Murray will meet Juan Monaco in the last four after the Argentine battled to a 6-7, 7-5, 6-2 win over Austria's Jurgen Melzer, the 13th seed who knocked out world No1 Rafa Nadal on Thursday.

"I know Andy's a very good player. He fights a lot and it will be tough for me; if I want to beat Andy, I have to play a little bit better tomorrow," said the unseeded Monaco.

Roger Federer sliced through fifth seed Robin Soderling with a 6-1, 6-1 victory. Third seed Federer broke serve three times to wrap up the first set in 29 blistering minutes as Soderling played little more than a meek cameo role.

The second set was four minutes shorter as quick-firing Federer smashed four aces to call time in 54 minutes. He now faces a last-four showdown with Serb Novak Djokovic, who trounced Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-2, 6-3.

"Today was a quick match but tomorrow's against Novak will not be based on fitness, it will be in the details," said Federer afterwards.

"It will be a bit more tactical, with more rallies, and more interesting," added the Swiss, who wants revenge for the five-set defeat by the Serb in the US Open semi-finals last month.

Djokovic, who won the China Open in Beijing on Monday, was hopeful of downing Federer again: "I just need to focus on my game. If I play as well as I have done recently, I think I have a good chance."

Meanwhile, the ATP Tour is considering shortening its 11-month season by two or three weeks from 2012 to help players avoid injuries and burnout. "We are taking a good look at our calendar to see if there is a way to lengthen the off-season to allow players more time for rest, fitness and working on their game," spokeswoman Kate Gordon said yesterday.