Riding a 14 match winning streak, the world number one Novak Djokovic came up against his toughest test since the U.S. Open against the Australian Bernard Tomic, but the 2012 and 2013 champion chalked up his 70th win of the year as he ran away with a 7-6(6), 6-1 win. Going for the Beijing and Shanghai double for the third time in his career, the Serb faced some stubborn resistance from the determined Aussie who saved two set points trailing 4-6 in the first tie-break and now faces the Scott Andy Murray in the semi-final on Saturday.
In the last evening, the third seeded Murray who will reclaim the number two ranking following the defending champion Roger Federer’s surprise loss against the Spanish qualifier Albert Ramos Vinolas, was too strong for Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic winning 6-1, 6-3 in just 79 minutes. The last encounter between Murray and Djokovic in the final of the ATP 1000 event in Montreal, Canada in August, the Scot ended an eight match loosing streak dating back to the Wimbledon 2013 final.
In the other semi-final, Rafael Nadal will face the Frenchman Jo Wilfred Tsonga. Both won in contrasting styles. While Nadal took full advantage of Stanislas Wawrinka’s fatigue following his three hour long battle against the Croatian Marin Cilic. Tsonga outlasted the South African Kevin Anderson in two hours and forty one minutes. Nadal won 6-2,6-1 against the French Open champion Wawrinka which enabled the Spaniard to record his 300th match win at ATP World Tour Masters 1000 level. Having lost his previous two matches against the Swiss, Nadal improved his head to head record to 13-2 against the world number four.
Tsonga saved three set points in the first set tie-break as he rallied from a 3-6 deficit and reeled off five consecutive points to seal the first set. However the world number ten Anderson responded brilliantly breaking Tsonga in the twelveth game of the second set to force a deciding third set. The 30 year old Frenchman regained the upper hand as he broke serve to go up 2-1 and despite facing break points in the fourth and sixth games held on to win 7-6(6),5-7,6-4.
The line up in the semi-final with my picks mentioned first is as under with their head to head records :-
Andy Murray (3) v. Novak Djokovic (1) ; Djokovic leads 19-9
Rafael Nadal (8) v. Jo Wilfred Tsonga (-); Nadal leads 8-3.
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy.You can reach him at the email: firstname.lastname@example.org]