Shanghai Masters 2014: Novak Djokovic relishing Roger Federer test in quest for third title

The pair meet in Saturday's semi-final

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As Novak Djokovic has said on a number of occasions in recent days, life does not get much better than this. After a summer in which he married his long-time girlfriend Jelena Ristic, who is expecting their first baby within the next few weeks, and won his second Wimbledon title, the 27-year-old Serb is now cutting his customary swathe through the autumn calendar.

Djokovic’s 6-4, 6-2 victory over David Ferrer in the quarter-finals of the Shanghai Rolex Masters was his 28th in succession in China. He is chasing a third successive title here.

On Saturday, nevertheless, he will face his toughest test so far in China this year. His semi-final opponent is Roger Federer, who beat Julien Benneteau of France 7-6, 6-0. Federer, who will replace Rafael Nadal at No 2 in the world rankings on Monday, has won 18 of his 35 meetings with Djokovic, but the Serb has won five of the last seven. “There is no clear favourite,” Djokovic insisted. “I think every time we play against each other, it’s a thriller. It’s really a big challenge for both of us.”

Another Frenchman, Gilles Simon, will take on Spain’s Feliciano Lopez in the other semi-final. Lopez, 33, beat Mikhail Youzhny 5-7, 6-4, 6-4, while Simon beat Tomas Berdych for the sixth time in nine meetings.

Roger Federer at the Shanghai Masters


Berdych’s 7-6, 4-6, 6-0 defeat will give encouragement to the chasing pack for the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London, which includes both Ferrer and Andy Murray.

The current deal to stage the World Tour Finals in London runs out after next year’s event and Djokovic said last night that he hoped it would then move to another country. “London has been a great success,” the world No 1 said. “But we should allow other cities to have the opportunity to see the best eight players.”