Andy Murray powered into the Shanghai Masters final here with an impressive 6-4 6-1 win over the Argentinian Juan Monaco. The 23-year-old Scot will now face Roger Federer in today's final after the Swiss beat Novak Djokovic 7-5 6-4 in the other semi-final.
Murray, seeking only his second title of the season, came through a tight first set against the unseeded Monaco but the fourth seed stepped up his play in the second and quicklywrapped up victory after 85 minutes on court.
Murray, who has yet to drop a set in four matches in China, will go into the final full of confidence but knowing he will have to raise his game against the former world No 1. Murray beat Federer in the final of the last Masters event in Toronto but is attempting to get back to his best after an early loss at the US Open and a quarter-final exit last week in Beijing.
"In each match I've felt better," said Murray. "It's been a couple of tough weeks. This is probably a better result than I expected at the start of the week.
"I think I moved really well today, which to me is very important to my game. I have a feeling on the court if I'm running around, chasing a lot of balls down, I feel good. In Beijing, I felt slow and sluggish, out of breath quite quickly, so it's quite a big change."
The British No 1, hoping to end a relatively disappointing year with some positive results, made his first break of Monaco's serve in the fourth game of their semi-final. He consolidated that break with an easy hold of his serve and soon found himself serving for the set at 5-3.
However, a loose backhand gave the world No 41 Monaco two break points and the Argentinian was handed the game when Murray double-faulted. But then it was Monaco's time to throw away the momentum as Murray took advantage of some tentative play from the debutant Masters semi-finalist to take the first set.
The key point occurred when Murray, having broken a string in his racket, launched a series of desperate defensive lobs from the back of the court with Monaco, having failed to dispatch the first two, smashing the third wildly out.
Murray started the second set full of confidence and, playing with great variety, eased into a 3-0 lead before Monaco managed to register a game. However, another break immediately followed before Murray served out to clinch his place in the final after only one hour and 25 minutes.
Federer, who will now reclaim the world No 2 ranking from Djokovic, produced a vintage display to avenge his US Open semi-final defeat by the Serb.
The Swiss broke Djokovic three times after fighting off four break points on his own serve early in the first set and maintained his composure to take the second set.
Meanwhile, the unseeded veteran Kimiko Date Krumm reached the final of the Japan Open with a 3-6 7-6 7-5 victory over the third seed Shahar Peer in Osaka.
Krumm made history on Friday as she became the first woman in her 40s to defeat a top-10 player, beating Sam Stosur of Australia 5-7 6-3 7-6.
The 40-year-old, who ended a 12-year spell in retirement in 2008, is a four-time winner of the Japan Open title. She will play Thailand's Tamarine Tanasugarn in today's final. Tanasugarn, who is unseeded, saw off the French second seed Marion Bartoli.