Djokovic and Davydenko reach Masters Cup final
Nikolay Davydenko took full advantage of an exhausted Andy Murray to set up a Masters Cup final against world No.3 Novak Djokovic.
The Scot, clearly feeling the effects of Friday’s three-hour epic against Roger Federer, looked jaded from the outset, and the Russian made sure to keep him on the move at every opportunity and clinching a break in the first game.
The 21-year-old Murray still had enough in the tank to break back, but was hussled and harried in Davydenko’s customary style to break again in game 11 before a backhand winner sealed the first set in just over an hour.
With Murray now running on empty and struggling to keep his frustration in check, Davydenko cruised to a comfortable victory. He fired 33 winners to the Briton’s seven over the match and sealed it on his first match point with an ace.
“I was lucky Murray beat Federer yesterday,” said 27-year-old Davydenko, who would have played Federer in the semis had the Swiss overcome the Scot.
“But I played very well today and won – he wanted to show he was the best player by beating Federer so maybe he was really tired.”
“Naturally I was going to be tired, I played a long match last night but he played a lot better than me in the circumstances,” said Murray, who reiterated that he had no regrets about giving his all against Federer.
Davydenko, the only player in the final four to have previously reached the semis, will face Djokovic in the final after the Serbian beat Frenchman Gilles Simon 4-6 6-3 7-5.
The Australian Open champion made 21 errors in losing the opening set but his nerves settled after an early break in the second before he ground out the win after two hours 50 minutes.
“It’s a huge success for me to reach the final,” said the 21-year-old, who lost all of his matches on his Masters Cup debut last year. “It would be great if I can end up with the title. I didn’t have such a great last couple of months of the season.”
Defeat ended a fairytale ride for Simon who won his ticket to the season finale when world No.1 Rafael Nadal pulled out injured, and then beat defending champion Roger Federer in their group match.
“I defeated the world No.2, I played three sets in three hours against the No.3, so
that’ll give me confidence for next year,” said the 23-year-old, who will finish the year as world No.7.
Simon said a neck problem that required a medical timeout at the start of the second set had not affected the outcome. Djokovic also sustained an injury to his calf that required attention in the third set, but fended off a late Simon rally to reach his sixth final of the season.
“I had this role of the favorite, and probably it’s had some impact on me at the start of the match,” said the 21-year-old. “I wasn’t patient enough and made a lot of unforced errors.”
Davydenko and Djokovic have met only twice before, the Russian prevailing when the Serbian retired injured from a Davis Cup match earlier this year but losing 7-6 0-6 7-5 in their group match.
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